The Emerald and Semi-Precious Minerals Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) has appealed to government to allow dormant mines to merge so that they can attract bigger capital investment to help them kick start viable mining activities.
Reacting to government’s threat to revoke mining licences from dormant mines, ESMAZ president Victor Kalesha said most mines have remained dormant because mine owners have wrong geological data which made them begin spending their capital on mining activities that did not yield anything.
Mr. Kalesha argued that in most of the dormant mines, minerals are not close to the surface while the land is rocky thereby requiring bigger mining equipment.
“Government did not give us all this geological information. As such it is not our fault that we have remained dormant thus we are not going to allow government to revoke the mining licenses,” Mr. Kalesha charged.
He said government should instead dialogue with the mine owners and find a solution to the problem instead of threatening to revoke their licenses.
He suggested that government should also consider giving the small scale miners loans for them to hire mining equipment needed for them to begin mining.
And on the contrary, Small Scale Miners Association of Zambia (SSMAZ) has welcomed government’s plans to revoke mining licenses from dormant mines.
SSMAZ General Secretary Kakoma Luneta said the move will enable government to give the licenses to investors who will utilize them.
Mr Luneta said proceeds from active mines will benefit government and the local people through taxes and creation of employment.
He told ZANIS in Kitwe today that currently, the dormant mines were not of any benefit to both government and the local people hence the need to reallocate those mine portions to serious investors who will begin mining immediately.
He however advised government to reduce the mine portions when it begins issuing new mining licenses because mining companies only use small areas while the bigger chunk of the land remains dormant.
Mr. Luneta noted that this will help local people have some land for agricultural activities.
Government has this week threatened to revoke mining licenses allocated to small scale mines that have remained dormant to pave way for those with capacity to engage in serious mining.