The government has handed-over gold mining equipment worth 1.3 million Kwacha to three cooperatives aimed at scaling up gold production levels in three districts of the Eastern province.
And Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga says the government is cognizant of the cooperative model’s potential in contributing to poverty alleviation and job creation.
Mr. Mulenga says government will endeavour to support cooperatives in their growth.
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Lusaka today, Mr. Mulenga said the equipment will enhance the productivity of cooperatives in Rufunsa, Vubwi and Lundazi which have been targeted for now.
He also revealed that the Ministry of Mines will soon start issuing new gold mining licenses which had been cancelled in the three districts because of being inactive.
And Ministry of Commerce Permanent Secretary Mushuma Mulenga said the equipment will be key in helping formal mining of gold in the targeted districts.
He said government had assigned ZCCM Investment Holdings to secure the equipment and maintain it.
Mr. Mulenga emphasised the need for equitable access to the equipment by cooperatives.
And ZCCM-IH Chief Executive Officer Mabvuto Chipata said the acquisition of equipment with support of the SADC Trade Related Facility reflects government’s commitment in supporting growth of artisanal miners.
He noted that lack of equipment has remained a challenge hence believes the move to empower the cooperatives with equipment will go a long way in their operations.
And representative of the cooperatives in Rufunsa Josias Malunga, who is Chintimbwi Ward councillor said the beneficiaries are greatful to government and pledged to work with ZCCM -IH as they are eager to uplift their lives through the project.