By SILUMESI MALUMO and KETRA KALUNGA
GOVERNMENT has resolved to terminate about 1, 488 mining licences for failure to respond to default notices and for failure to pay area charges.
Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga said this follows the default notices which were issued on January 9, 2020 and after appeals were reviewed.
Mr Mulenga said a Technical Committee under the Ministry of Mines was constituted to review the appeals by the holders of the mining rights cited under the stated notice.
Mr Mulenga in an interview yesterday said out of 1, 488 licences to be terminated included 223 small-scale exploration licences, 243 large-scale exploration licences, 93 artisanal mining rights.
Others are 167 small-scale mining rights, 11 large-scale mining licences, 700 large-scale exploration licences, 39 small-scale mining licences and 15 large-scale mining licences.
“The default notice with regards the exploration licences highlighted the following breaches:
Failure to expend on exploration operations for each year, not less than the minimum annual exploration expenditure set out in the Second Schedule of the statutory instrument No. 7 of 2016, as required by law.
Failure to submit at quarterly intervals, a comprehensive report relating to exploration operations carried out in each quarter and annual exploration expenditure statements accompanied by copies of relevant transaction documents to the Director of Geological Survey and Director of Mines Safety.
“Failure to carry on exploration in accordance with the approved programme of operations, failure to observe a condition of the Mines and Minerals Development Act, 2015 in disposing off geochemical samples, Reverse Circulation Samples and Diamond drill cores without the written authority from the Director of Geological Survey,” Mr Mulenga said.
Mr Mulenga said the licence holders also failed to implement the local business development plan and the employment and training of citizens of Zambia as attached to the exploration licence contrary to Section 49(1)(a)(iv) and (b) of statutory instrument no. 7 of 2016 – the Mines and Minerals Regulation of 2016.
The licence holders, he said, failed to comply with the Mines and Minerals Development Act of 2015 condition not to undertake exploration operations without the written approval from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and failed to register a pegging certificate within 180 days of the grant of the exploration licence at the Mining Cadastre Offices.
Earlier this year, the ministry cancelled about 817 dormant licences.
Mines Minister Richard Musukwa said it was better to give dormant licences to serious investors who would put them to good use. Mr Musukwa said Government was eager to see that all licences were operational for the country to start earning meaningful revenue from the mining activities.
“We can’t be issuing licences to people who just put them on the shelves, this will not be allowed,” he said.