By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ZCCM-IH has bought a machine to process gold while assisting Government monitor the movement of the commodity, Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda has said.
Zambia on average produces 4500 kilogrammes or 4.5 tonnes of gold per annum.
He said the machine would be able to process the mineral in small bullions which will be used to create gold reserves.
Mr Chanda said in an interview that Government would be able to capture all gold produced in the country using the machine which had been procured through ZCCM-IH.
He said Government currently only captured gold which was being produced by First Quantum Minerals.
The procuring of the machine, he said, was also meant to provide a market for gold small scale miners who would be formalised.
Mr Chanda said Government was eager to formalise mining areas which were currently occupied by the illegal operators in Petauke, Rufunsa and Nyimba.
“We are working with ZCCM-IH to provide a market for those who will be formalised who will be producing gold for sale. So ZCCM-IH has procured a machine to process gold in small bullions which gold we can use for reserves.
“We will also try to estimate how much we could have lost for the time we have not been monitoring this kind of mining,” Mr Chanda said.
Mr Chanda explained that ZCCM-IH would also provide a readily market for small scale miners who had been issued with gold panning licenses. The ministry, he said, had been issuing gold panning licenses for two years.
“They small-scale gold miners] are just active when there are rains because the gold metals are washed from mountains downstream so that as they are panning they are able to pick those.