The Government and scavengers are also known as hand pickers have failed to reach a consensus on the mechanism of operating the Black Mountain in Kitwe.
Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Paul Kabuswe on Saturday met scavengers near the mine site and told them to stop climbing the Black Mountain to pick chrome which is one of the major minerals found at the Back Mountain.
Mr. Kabuswe suggested that people operating tippers will be taking material outside the mine site where the scavengers will be picking from to prevent accidents.
But the hand pickers argued that they want to be picking chrome for themselves because it is unlikely that operators will be giving them valuable raw material.
“Let them allow us to climb the Black Mountain like we have been doing in the past. We can’t trust the process of them giving us material which has already been dug,” one of the hand-pickers said.
Mr. Kabuswe, however, maintained that no one will be allowed to climb the Black Mountain because it can lead to deaths in case it collapses.
“We know that you are hungry that is why we have come here. First thing, I want to tell you that we are worried that you are climbing over the Black Mountain to pick chrome. That mountain can collapse and people can die. That is not what we want. I have heard your cries that people who are operating with tippers are just doing it anyhow without considering whether or not the material is profitable. I don’t want to see you cheated by bringing material that is not profitable. I want to ensure that they are giving you material that has chrome in it,” Mr. Kabuswe said.
“I am telling the mine manager and geologists that if you want to be using tippers, ensure that you get material which has a lot of chrome. The material can be easily identified. So we don’t want people to be given worthless material that has no chrome. We have told mine manager and geologists to find the correct belt that has chrome. Yes you know where chrome is because you have been here at the Black Mountain for a long time but some people have gone to school for these things. These people who have gone to school are experts in this field and know where to pick chrome from. People were just digging and picking chrome any way I have seen that because I am also a miner,” he said.
“Listen to me, when something has started don’t say it won’t happen, when you try and it fails, try more options that is how life is. This Black Mountain is too huge. Some of you will die before it is finished so take it easy until things work out well. This Black Mountain exists because of you, the people of Zambia and not me the Minister. As a Minister I am just an overseer to ensure that you benefit from the Black Mountain and that your lives are safeguarded. People should not benefit from the Black Mountain at the expense of others losing lives. We don’t want that,” Mr. Kabuswe added.
“That incident where people climbed up the Mountain with others singing will not happen again. I am asking you people of Zambia when a new thing comes, let’s try it. If it fails I will come back just like I came back because I was here three weeks ago. I am back after hearing things are not working as earlier planned. Operators should dig on portions rich in chrome and give you. So you want to climb the Black Mountain? No. Listen to me; I don’t want to repeat the closure of mineral dump sites in Zambia like it happened in the past. I don’t want to suspend operations at this Black Mountain. If one is injured or dead we will close the Black Mountain and what are you going to do. It’s better to try this and that until what we want works. I am telling you that we won’t allow people to climb on the Black Mountain to pick material,” Mr. Kabuswe concluded.
Confusion last 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.
These are the jobs upnd promised the youth. Okay lets just face it bane, isn’t this a big shame. Just read what the minister of Mines is giving directions kwati fya kusampa. These minerals are for the whole country to benefit not individuals. Governance ba upnd bena yabashupa.
Kabuswe should not think just because himself is assured of steady income those people will have the same patience as he.
Kabuswe can’t solve this problem without UPND Party officials who had been collecting money from these youths. As long as the UPND as a Party are involved in the management of the Black Mountain there will always be confusion. The youths are already agitated so they can’t listen to Kabuswe. Further, the exclusion of the previous major players hasn’t gone well with their followers. And why have people from different towns been included in this project? This has caused suspicions as Party officials have included fictitious people and cooperatives. It’d be better to screen all those involved to bring sanity to the process otherwise threats won’t work
Kabuswe totally failed on this issue, and he should be REPLACED by the president SOONEST
The UPND should be very careful with this Black Mountain issue. It could turn out to be their Achilles heel on the Copperbelt. As one hailing from Kitwe, I have spoken to scores of relatives and friends from Kitwe – young and old, men and women- and almost without exception, there is a very strong feeling that outsiders have come to appropriate what rightly belongs to the people of Kitwe. They feel betrayed by the UPND and resent what they perceive as the takeover of the Black Mountain by cooperatives run by people from Lusaka. Most of these youths are very bitter and ready to fight for their Black Mountain.
#5 The whole thing is being controlled by the Upnd provincial youth chairman. This clearly tells us that there’s zero transparency. It is Uubomba mwibala reloaded.
I bet the overheads to run an organized mining operation that will employ those that are being called scavengers are too prohibitive for this government to move in that way. Instead, they are abetting lawless and dangerous behavior by even bringing in some “formality” of tipper trucks. Real solutions are very, very hard. Get some strategists in there please before we have disaster upon disaster.
This is a disaster…that should never have been tolerated from start by PF of Lazy Lungu …you can not reach a consenus with a mob of call boys this has now become a political campaign hot potatoe.
I have said it before, Kabuswe is a wrong chap for the ministry of mines. The guy has no clue on how to run this ministry. He has brought maximum confusion in the Mining sector. Ba president, the eralier you remove this guy, the better for the country and the mining industry. Otherwise we are heading for disaster.
I didn’t know that when he said ” all mining licenses have been suspended” he meant the Black mountain.
I didn’t know when he said ” We have a new mining policy” he meant the Black mountain.
Black mountain is not for the people of kitwe only, it’s for the whole nation bane. What upnd needed to do was to establish a company that will collect all the minerals there, pay tax to the government and employe people to work there in safe and orderly manner. Notifyo ba Kabuswe balenda ati iyo let the trucks carry the slag to the safe area and the youths can pick the minerals somewhere else. Where’s environmental safety there? Bushe nisangwapo and how’s the government going to collect the tax? It is clearly seen that this is Chipantepate government. Same thing with cdf they way the money is given to the people one would wonder what this government is doing. Governance ba upnd yena yabashupa nearly in all angles. This is hypocrisy ECL was talking about these people promised heaven on…
Black mountain belongs to government. Let government bring the so called chrome with the tippers for the scavengers to pick.
Comments are closed.