Chief Chibwika of the Lunda speaking people in Mwinilunga district of Northwestern province has welcomed the move taken by government to suspend mining operations at Kasenseli gold mine.
Responding to a press query from ZANIS today, chief Chibwika said he supports the government’s move which seeks to address the concerns of the host community.
He said the suspension of operations at Kasenseli gold mine has brought a lot of relief not only for the people of Kasenseli in Chibwika chiefdom in Mwinilunga district but the country at large whose resources were being looted without due regard.
“This has vindicated me against all those who thought that the chiefdom and I may have entered into some suspicious agreement with those who were running the mine”, chief Chibwika said.
He alleged that lives were being lost at the mine due to lack of care by management of ZCCM-IH and Zambia Gold Company.
Chief Chibwika believes that ZCCM-IH and Zambia Gold should shoulder the blame for the suspension.
“I wish to commend the Minister of Mines Paul Kabuswe and the new dawn government for bringing to a stop a disastrous operations that has been going on without punishment at Kasenseli gold mine”, he stated.
Meanwhile Chief Chibwika called for tight security at the mine and around the mine to curb all illegal settlements.
He urged the community members to be part of the monitoring team of the mine to ensure transparency during the suspension period and afterwards.
“We expect clarity on mine ownership and establishment of a genuine partnership with the community within Kasenseli”, chief Chibwika said.
The traditional leader further also noted that cooperatives must be empowered so as to benefit from the mine.
He also emphasized on the need to follow procedure in the issuance of a licence to a new investor who should be ready to work with the local community.
ZANIS reports that last week Minister of Mines, Paul Kabuswe announced the suspension of operations at Kasenseli gold mine on grounds that the company was not complying with various mining regulations.