Friday, April 19, 2024

There is a need to quickly address the chaos at the Black Mountain


Copperbelt based good governance activist Peter Mulenga is calling for peace and harmony to prevail as cooperatives and hand-pickers operate at the Kitwe mineral dump site commonly known the Black Mountain.

Confusion this week characterized operations at the Black Mountain as hand pickers also referred to as scavengers fought for their share at the mineral dump site.

Police on Tuesday and Thursday fought running battles with scavengers after they were denied entry into the Black Mountain area.

The scavengers blocked the Kitwe-Ndola Road with tyres, logs and stones in protest.

The scavengers mostly youths want access to the Black Mountain as well despite not being in cooperatives.

In an interview with Lusaka Times, Mr. Mulenga said there is a need to quickly address the chaos at the Black Mountain.

Mr. Mulenga said the situation at the Black Mountain in its current form is a disaster in the making.

He noted that among the scavengers there are genuine individuals who deserve a chance to operate at the Black Mountain despite not belonging to the much talked about cooperatives.

Mr. Mulenga, however, said some people causing confusion at the Black Mountain in the name of being scavengers must be dealt with according to the law.

“The issue of the so called “scavengers” at the Black Mountain is a delicate matter. These are youths who genuinely want to share a piece of cake from their country’s national resources. We hear they are not in cooperatives as per guidelines. Is it difficult to help them form the so called cooperatives? We also hear they are only given a few hours to allow them operating. Why can’t each team be given designated days in which to operate? In this way pickers will have separate days to work and also the ones with machinery will equally have their days to operate,” Mr. Mulenga said.

He proposed that the Government through Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development should come up with a proper scheduled that would allow hand pickers and those in cooperatives operate separately to end confusion.

“Can government and all stake holders devise a workable solution to this feud? Come up with safe work procedures that will strictly be adhered to. Seek advice from mining houses like Kansanshi, Mopani Copper Mines or Konkola Copper Mines who have safety and mining experts. The situation at the black mountain in its current form is a disaster in the making. As the situation stands, the so called scavengers are very distraught about the prospect of been left out,” Mr. Mulenga said.

“Let the hand pickers be organized and let the Government secure them at the site as well without segregation. But also I sense that the Scavengers are used so if they want to go the root of lawlessness then let the law take its course. The scavengers do really matter and can’t be ignored. Let’s let what’s happening at the mountain not to happen again so all parties at the Black Mountain must be engaged. Even those who behind this behaviour, take this opportunity to engage, there is no immediate cause of concern. Let’s make sure all parties are satisfied,” Mr. Mulenga said.

The Government last month officially handed over 30 % of the Kitwe Mineral Slag Dump commonly known as Black Mountain to cooperatives owned by the local youth and women.

The Black Mountain located between Wusakile and Nkana West is owned by Nkana Alloy, who are the major shareholders with the Government having a minor stake.

When handing over the 30% portion of the Black Mountain in February, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Paul Kabuswe told the cooperatives to begin operations with immediate effect.


  1. Mulenga, there’s only one solution: Depoliticize the whole thing and give it to one genuine investor with the condition to employ the local people. End of the story. Trying to reward those who the Upnd think propelled to power will not work….many SILENT PEOPLE voted for Upnd and therefore they all feel they too should have their share. So this makes it a NO WIN SITUATION.

  2. Yet ANOTHER failing of the Ministry of Mines. It clearly shows that the big mouth that Minister Kabuswe or whatever his name is can only be described as an AMATEUR

  3. I listened to Kabuswe’s interview on tv. It is clear the minister has no road map for this failed project. Neither does he know what the ministry of Mines is expected to do. He is not fit for the ministry. Mr. President. Please replace him.

  4. Govt should have safe guards before handing of the site coz in its current state there is a disaster in the waiting. Even dumping the slug along the Ndola-Kitwe dual carriage will not solve the problem in fact even creating more confusion. It will be scramble and survival of the fittest.

  5. I agree with De Javu – it will not work. Now that IDC has been revamped let them take over and buy from the youths. Each youth should be registered with a TPIN number etc and a price structure should be put in place.

    This way the IDC will earn an income ( government organisation) and the youth will also earn an income. Corporative will not work.

  6. As long as the UPND as a Party is involved in the management of the site there will always be confusion. Party officials at various levels were even collecting money from youths that were seeking jobs at the fabled mountain. They were agitated when they were asked to leave. Soon those that were collecting money will be exposed as the youths demand for their share of the mountain. The UPND shouldn’t blame fictitious sponsors of the confusion when they’re the main architects. Some people will be beaten over the money they collected from youths

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