Government has with immediate effect suspended the issuance of new mining and non-mining rights and dissolved the Mining Advisory Committee (MAC).
Mines and Natural Resources Minister Wilbur Simuusa made the announcement during a press briefing in Lusaka today.
Mr. Simuusa noted that there were a lot of irregularities, litigations and allegations of corruption in the manner mining and non-mining licenses were been issued.
The Minister stated that during the period of suspension, there will be an audit and clean up of all mining and non-mining rights.
He, however, stated that all valid mining and non-mining rights shall remain valid during the period of suspension.
Mr. Simuusa also observed that the current process of issuing mining and non-mining rights was inefficient and bureaucratic, saying under the current Mining Act, there were several steps that had to be exhausted before issuance of each type of mining right and non-mining rights.
He said the situation resulted into a huge backlog of unprocessed applications, adding that the ministry would also embark on upgrading the flexi-cadastre hardware and software to ensure speedy processing of the applications.
The minister said this would also include new workflows in the cadastre licensing system.
Meanwhile, Mr. Simuusa has called for the re-instating of the 1, 000 miners that were relieved of their duties at China Non-Ferrous Corporation Africa (NFCA) Mining Plc in Chambishi after they protested against poor working conditions.
He urged management, unions and workers to work together to resolve their disputes and immediately bring the situation back to normal.
Mr. Simuusa said the industrial unrest among mine workers on the Copperbelt was not in the best interest of the country, workers and mining unions.
Mr. Simuusa said the Ministry of Labour would continue to superintend over discussions between the three parties to ensure a lasting solution was found.