Government is still awaiting for response from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so as to give a go ahead for Prospective Uranium Mining in the country.
Mines Deputy Minister Maxwell Mwale said IAEA is still scrutinizing the guidelines that the Zambian government had sent on the mining of uranium in the country.
He stressed the commencement of uranium production by prospective uranium miners would only start after government receives a response from the Agency.
Mr. Mwale told ZANIS in an interview that it was illegal for prospective uranium miners to commence production as government was still working on a mechanism to regulate the mining of the mineral.
The Deputy Minister pointed out that the move taken by the Zambian government to send the guidelines to the Agency was aimed at protecting the Zambian communities from the effects of uranium.
Following the recent discovery of Uranium, there has been concerns that Zambia lacked capacity to control uranium mining in terms of storage, safety, security and transportation on the mineral.
ALBIDON Mining-Zambia Limited has confirmed the presence of high-grade uranium mineralisation at its Njame east project near Chirundu.
When giving an update on the pre-feasibility studies early this year, Albidon Zambia stated that uranium resources at the Chirundu joint venture with African Energy Resources had increased by 25 percent to about 4,120 metric tonnes.
Albidon indicated that the first uranium production was expected by the end of 2009.
However, Mines and Minerals Development Minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa had also in a related development warned that it was illegal to commence production in Zambia by prospective uranium miners as government was still developing guidelines in the mining of the mineral.
Dr Mwansa said the government had devised guidelines to regulate the mining of uranium in the country , which had been sent to the Agency.
Albidon Mining has become the third company to discover uranium deposits after Equinox Minerals discovered uranium deposits at its Lumwana copper project in North Western Province and has since embarked on a Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS), whose outcome would decide the way forward.
The other company is Omega Corp Limited, whose uranium exploration operations in the Siavonga area have reached advanced stages, with company managing director Mathew Yates stating that metallurgical discoveries had resulted in new areas of uranium mineralisation at its Kariba Uranium Project (KUP).
And Senior Chief Chipepo of the Tonga people in Southern Province had in a separate interview urged government to devise an effective and efficient mechanism that will help the country regulate international guildlines in the mining of uranium in an effort to protect the people of Zambia.
Chief Chipepo advised government to take extra remedial measures that would guide prospecting Uranium Miners to be prospecting and mining the mineral with caution so as to protect the local people from the effects of the uranium mineral.
He pointed out that there is need for the Zambian government to develop an effective and efficient framework before the commencement of uranium in the country.
The traditional ruler’s concern comes in the wake of the confirmed presence of the high-grade Uranium mineral contents in the Southern Province of Zambia.