By SILUMESI MALUMO
GOLD should be mined by local people and not the $2.5 million foreign company that will make them perpetual employees, North-West chiefs have demanded.
They have promised not to cooperate with any company, including ZCCM-Gold if locals are not given their own area to mine.
Villagers in Chief Chibwika’s chiefdom have rejected attempts to sideline them in gold mining in the area, demanding to have their own area of operation.
This came to the fore when ZCCM-GOLD, held an engagement and sensitisation session aimed at educating host communities on how they intend to involve them in the process of harnessing the gold resource at Kasenseli Gold Mine.
A representative of the chief, who is also Chief Chibwika’s prime minister, Paul Kamusaki warned ZCCM-Gold that the chiefdom will not support any mining activity that leaves out locals.
He warned that, “The desire for residents of Chibwika chiefdom is to have their own area where they can directly engage in legal gold mining. Residents will make it difficult for any firm including ZCCM-Gold to carryout mining activities if their wish is not being granted to them.”
ZCCM Gold Project Manager, Charles Mjumphi said the company will engage the community through a number of cooperate social responsibility programmes in various social sectors such as health, education, water and sanitation.
Mr Mjumphi said more jobs and areas of economic engagement for the residents will be created from mine support industries such as agriculture, health, education and commerce.
Meanwhile Bishop Julius Musesa, a member of the Chibwika Chiefdom Development Trust (CCDT) in charge of governance, said the chiefdom has a development plan regarding mining activities in place and expects ZCCM-Gold to strictly incorporate the plan as they develop the mine.
“It is time for the realisation of the plan and the vision our chief had to develop this chiefdom as recorded in the development plan,” he said.
Bishop Musesa said residents of Chibwika chiefdom will not allow ZCCM-Gold or any other entity to create antagonism between the chief and his subjects by disregarding the plan. Four communities have since been targeted in the initial sensitisation programme which include Matonchi, Kamapanda, Chibwika and Chiwoma.
And the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) has differed with ZCCM-IH over the way it has organised gold mining.
EAZ president Lubinda Haabazoka yesterday said Government’s policy on gold mining was to ensure that mineral resources benefitted the locals, contrary to what ZCCM-IH was doing.
Dr Haabazoka said EAZ could not support ZCCM-IH’s venture to open a gold company with shares only at 51 percent.
He said EAZ could also not support outsourcing gold processing in a joint venture with a foreign company.
“We shall seek to meet ZCCM-IH to ensure that gold is purely for Zambians. We advise technocrats to advise policy makers correctly. It will be pointless to declare gold a strategic asset when it benefits foreigners!
“Joint ventures with foreign firms have failed in the mining industry. We therefore advise ZCCM-IH to pause any collaboration until they listen to various stakeholders. EAZ stands ready to help out shape a citizen-financed gold mining industry,” Dr. Haabazoka said.
By SILUMESI MALUMO