By Ketra Kalunga
Kabwe youths excavating minerals at the Black Mountain yesterday morning forcibly gained access to a mining area within the Black Mountain popularly known as Salvage Yard belonging to a foreign investor, Sacko Mining Company.
The youth excavate Zinc, lead, copper and cobalt from the Black Mountain which they sell to different companies within and outside the district through their cooperatives.
Yesterday the police command, including the district officer commanding, Lameck Chirwa went to Salvage Yard to engage their representatives of the youth, Mopao Mubanga and Lusinga Mwanza on the matter.
But the excavators later turned down the meeting for reasons not availed to the media.
The Black Mountain has been a source of income for many unemployed people in Kabwe especially youths since the Zink Mine was closed in 1094 until seven months ago when Sacko mining sealed the area by putting up a wall fence and a gate.
Central Province Youth Cooperative Union general secretary, Lusinga Mwanza claimed in an interview at the salvage Yard that Sacko Mining Company had bought the Savage Yard through illegal means.
Mr Mwanza said this was so because when EPL Jubilee Metals who are the licensed holders of the entire Black mountain were engaged on the matter, they denied allowing Sacko Mining Company carrying out any mining activities.
He said according to information availed to the union, no mining activity which involved the use of machinery could take place at the Salvage Yard because it was a curving-in area.
Mr Mwanza wondered how youths could be stopped from conducting excavations at a curved-in mining area and yet the same area was given to a foreign investor with machinery to conduct mining activities.
He said the union represents about 2, 000 to 3, 000 youths from four cooperatives who were making a living from the Savage Yard hence they wanted to secure their only area of their survival.
Mr Mwanza also questioned how Sacko Mining, a foreign company, could be issued with an artisan licence which was only said to be given to Zambians.
He said from the information gathered, an artisan licence could only be given to a Zambian and not to a foreigner and how Sacko mining had been given the licence.
He has appealed to government to legalise the area like they did with the Black Mountain in Kitwe were 10 percent of it was given to the youths.