Three groups that were carrying out illegal mining of gold in Rufunsa district have been given cooperative certificates to enable them obtain a mining licenses from the Ministry of Mines.
This move is aimed at enabling the illegal miners begin to do legal mining which will benefit them and the government.
Presenting the cooperative certificates to Chomwetu, Pokela and Chitimbwi groups yesterday in Mpanshya yesterday, Mines and Mineral Development Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda urged people in the area to form cooperatives if they were to benefit from government programmes.
Mr. Chanda, who was accompanied by his Commerce, Trade and Industry counterpart Kayula Siame, said government was committed to ensuring that Zambians benefit from
the mineral resources found in the country.
He said the local people can only benefit from Zambia’s mineral resources if they form cooperatives which he said are legalized entities and regulated by an act.
He revealed that the Ministry of Mines will give licenses to cooperatives that want to engage in mining.
Mr. Chanda said government will help the cooperatives by giving them grants to acquire equipment and tools for carrying out the mining business in a profitable manner.
And Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary, Kayula Siame said her ministry has partnered with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Related Facility Zambia project (TRF) to formalize all the groups that are doing illegal mining to form cooperatives.
Ms. Siame said government through her ministry and the TRF will assist cooperatives, in terms of capacity building in value chain and finding a market for them.
Meanwhile, Rufunsa District Commissioner, Judith Chama said the district has mineral deposits noting that government’s move to empower local communities through cooperatives will change the economic status of the area.
Mrs. Chama said Rufunsa, which is a new district, was in a hurry to develop.
She said the formalization of the mining industry through cooperatives was a step forward to economic development in the area.
And Rufunsa Town Council Chairman, Bartholomew Kalambalala commended the Patriotic front (PF) government for fulfilling its campaign promises of empowering the people at grassroots.
Mr. Kalambalala said the giving of cooperative certificates to the three groups to enable them acquire a mining license would empower the local people.
He has since urged more people to form cooperatives so that they benefit from government programmes.