Chembe, Tuesday, 1st July, 2023 –
Minister of Green Economy and Environment Hon. Eng. Collins Nzovu MP says Government will ensure that sugilite mining is unlocked in Luapula Province so that the locals benefit from their natural resources.
Speaking when he visited Muombe Mine in Chembe District, Luapula Province, Hon. Nzovu said the Government institutions need to strengthen collaboration to ensure the rightful owners are given permission to mine the resource while ensuring that proper mining methods are used so that the environment is protected.
During the said visit to Muombe Mine which was recently closed due to illegal mining activities, the Honourable Minister said the resource (sugilite) needs to be unlocked as Luapula Province is one of the poorest provinces in the country.
He said the Government wants to ensure that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is undertaken to determine the best way of exploiting the resource in a sustainable manner without degrading the environment.
Hon. Nzovu also disclosed that ZEMA will soon be establishing an office in Mansa, Luapula Province so that developments such as mines that are opening in the province are properly guided on environmental protection matters.
He further stated that the Ministry of Mines is also developing regulations to guide the mining of sugilite.
Hon. Nzovu said he was aware of a lot of manganese mining companies carrying out illegal mining activities in protected forest areas and strongly warned those found of prosecution.
“Those people who are doing these activities must stop or risk prosecution; We would like to invite investors to come to our offices for guidance so that we collaborate and work together for the benefit of our people”.
Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Mr. Mighty Mumba, who also accompanied the Honourable Minister, said the mine was being guarded by security officers following the illegal mining activities that were taking place at the site and there were no operations currently taking place at the mine as guidance is being awaited from the Ministry of Mines.
He further said that sugilite is one of the important resources that was recently discovered in the province and the province wants to have a fair share of what will be coming out of the mine.
ZEMA Northern Regional Manager Mr. Chrispin Simwanza said that the mining company Bayan Construction Limited has approval for exploration of Manganese and not for carrying out mining and mineral processing activities. He also stated that the company is currently undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for mining.
Meanwhile, on the way from the mine, the Honourable Minister addressed the community members who are demanding a share in the country’s mineral resources particularly sugilite which is in their area.
The Honourable Minister assured the people that Government was aware of their concerns and that he understood the people’s desperation for jobs and their quest to benefit from the sugilite.
Meanwhile, Hon.Nzovu and the team also visited Kawambwa Meteorological Station where he underscored the importance of meteorological data for agricultural, aviation and marine services.