By SILUMESI MALUMO
GOVERNMENT must be aggressive in curbing rampant illegal mining of minerals in the country as it is depriving of Zambians chance to benefit from their minerals, Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) secretary general Joseph Chewe has said.
And Mr Chewe urged the media to be proactive in reporting about illegal activities in the mining sector as this would help in improving the welfare of the country.
Recently Daily Nation reported that about 20 thousand tonnes of tin amounting to US$400million was illegally mined in Zimba district of Southern Province.
The source who owns a mining firm in the district told the Daily Nation that about 20 thousand tons of tin was being mined illegally every year in the district.
The source expressed regret that the country was not fully benefiting from its minerals due to illegal mining.
When contacted, Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda confirmed the development.
Mr Chanda said government was aware of the illicit mining activities, adding that government would put up measures to curb the scourge.
But Mr Chewe in an interview with Daily Nation yesterday said government should be aggressive if illicit miming activities could be curbed.
Mr Chewe said the rampant illegal mining of minerals in the country was unacceptable, stating that the government must act immediately to stop the scourge.
He said government should take a tough stand on the matter because it was impacting negatively on the economic growth of the country.
The government must ensure that these activities are curbed because its revenue base was being affected due to the scourge, Mr Chewe said.
“We want to thank the efforts being done by Daily Nation to quickly alert the nation about illegal mining taking place.
These illegal mining activities must surely be stopped by government so that the country can get true value,” Mr Chewe said.
Mr Chewe said government should ensure that the illegal miners formalises their mines so that it could start getting meaningful revenue from such mines.
“There is need to ensure that these miners formalise there mines so that government start getting tax from them instead of suing dubious means to engage in mining activities,” Mr Chewe said.