Government says the intentions by First Quantum Minerals (FQM) to lay off 500 workers under its Kalumbila Mine Projects is unacceptable.
And Musele community Taskforce Vice Chairperson Morris Sankisa urged government not to lift the protection order issued to FQM to stop the construction of Chisoal Dam by ZEMA under political expediency.
On the other hand, Senior Chief Musele appealed to government to consider revising the constitution and give powers to traditional leaders to have absolute authority even on land with minerals.
Northwestern Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu says government deeply regrets the development and will not succumb to such decisions which are tantamount to blackmail.
ZANIS reports Mr. Mubukwanu was speaking in Solwezi when he graced this year’s Nkisu Ya Nzambi Traditional ceremony of the Lunda speaking people in Senior Chief Musele chiefdom in Solwezi District , yesterday.
He said this intention by the mining company aimed at exerting undue pressure on government to make a rush decision is unacceptable.
“We learnt with deep regret the intention by FQM to lay off 500 workers at its Trident project as a result of the protection order issued by Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA)stopping the construction of the Chisola Dam because the company did not get appropriate approval such as acquiring the water rights, ”he said.
He said that government is aware of many gaps that have negatively affected both the implementation of the Kalumbila mining project and the livelihood of the local community and assured the community that it is doing everything possible to resolve the matter.
Speaking at the same event, Musele community Taskforce Vice Chairperson Morris Sankisa urged government not to lift the protection order issued to FQM to stop the construction of Chisoal Dam by ZEMA under political expediency.
“We strongly commend government through ZEMA’s protection order to FQM under its Kalumbila Mining project to stop their bid to build another dam across Chisola Dam River,” he said.
Mr. Sankisa said the people of Musele have no doubt that government under the leadership of President Michael Sata will protect their interest as a matter of priority.
“Your active engagement as government in this matter gives us hope that justice shall prevail and our rights as citizens of Zambia shall be adequately protected”. He added.
Mr. Sankisa appealed to government to quickly resolve the issue of the mining surface rights between FQM and the Musele community which he said has raised a lot of anxiety and speculation among the people.
“We want government to quickly intervene and resolve this issue so that the people will know what next step to take to normalize their livelihood. Our identify as people is bound to the land. The survival and continuity of present and future generation is dependent upon our land, this is an undisputable fact that is proven by our cultural history. “He noted.
Meanwhile, Senior Chief Musele appealed to government to consider revising the constitution and give powers to traditional leaders to have absolute authority even on land with minerals.
Senior Chief Musele said owners of the land are stakeholders in whichever way of activities that take place in their God given Land and that such should reviewed as the initial capital for investment to partner with would be inventors.
He said this through his representative pastor Gilly Kakunta.
Senior Chief Musele also appealed to government to consider connecting his chiefdom to the national grid and, give Musele a district status following an increase in population in the area.