Caritas Director in the Catholic diocese of Solwezi in North Western province, Noel Haaninga has called on government to ensure that local communities in Kasenseli gold mine in Mwinilunga district yield benefit of mineral extraction in the area.
Speaking when he made a presentation in Solwezi district yesterday at a provincial mining indaba which was also attended by 11 traditional leaders chiefs, Father Haaninga said the local communities should have special place on the table in the whole discussion of mining.
Fr. Haaninga said concerns about the future of the community and their children should be prioritised but expressed sadness that such has been neglected.
“It is essential to show special care for the communities and their cultural traditions, example of Mwinilunga comes to my mind where gold in Kasenseli has been discovered but communities have been left in the cold, no benefit accruing to the community”, he said.
Fr. Haaninga said mere corporate social responsibility is not enough and called for the need to ensure that mining activities lead to integral human development of each and every person and for the entire community.
“Show us your budgets of corporate social responsibility CSR and we will tell you our priorities”, he said.
The clergyman advised the mining companies to respect human rights and involve local communities in identifying projects and actions fit for communities.
Meanwhile Fr. Haaninga has called upon the local authorities to account for the money they are collecting from the mines.
In responding to issues raised by the clergyman, North-Western Provincial Minister, Robert Lihefu said the new dawn government is committed to ensuring that things are brought to normal in the mines.
Mr Lihefu made a passionate appeal to the mine companies to involve the locals in order to avoid problems being experienced in other areas.
“Please investors involve the communities,” he appealed.
Mr Lihefu said government is aware that mining if not well managed has its negative effects on the environment.
He encouraged indaba participants to ensure that the challenges in the mining sector are adequately exploded and develop a progressive and innovative ways to address them.