GOVERNMENT is in the process of repossessing dormant land especially from multinational mining companies, Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Richard Musukwa has said.
Mr Musukwa told the Daily Nation that government would start reviewing all licences regardless of who owns them in order to repossess dormant land.
He said once repossessed the land would be handover to serious investors to exploit minerals for the betterment of the country.
On Friday, last week, Emeralds and Semi-Precious Mining Association of Zambia president Victor Kalesha told the Daily Nation that government should consider revisiting the sale of Kagem Mines where a foreign investor owns huge shares and the country was not fully benefiting from the mine.
Mr Kalesha said it was annoying to know that Kagem mine land was endowed with best emeralds yet it only operated on less than 10 percent of that land.
He said if government retained majority shares and expanded operations, this would enable the country to earn more revenue and in turn pay off debt.
But Mr Musukwa said multinational mining companies were culprits, therefore, government would repossess the land and re-allocate it to serious local or foreign investors.
Mr Musukwa said government wanted to free the dormant tenement of land from some mining firms to allow serious investors to take centre stage in the mining activities on that land.
“Government has started reviewing all licences regardless of who owns them. Holding of land by mining firms has become so rampant and unfortunately even multinational companies are culprits. Licences are issued independently and must show activities. We have seen that many tenement are dormant and we want to free them to serious local and foreign investors to develop,” Mr Musukwa said.
The minister also said government wanted to ensure that foreign investors who would be given land partner with locals.
He said locals were the natural owners of the resources and can no longer be spectators in the mining equation but that they should also contribute significantly to the sector.
“We need to stop the honeymoon where mining entities hold huge tenement of land at the exclusion local people,” Mr Musukwa said.