Kitwe’s Nkana Member of Parliament Binwell Chansa Mpundu has expressed concern over the spate of accidents relating to operations at the Nkana Slag Dump commonly known as the Black Mountain.
Two separate accidents have occurred in the last two days in relation to mining activities at the Black Mountain in which at least three people have been left seriously injured.
Commenting on the accidents, Mr. Mpundu said his heart bleeds to see such accidents continue to be recorded as a result of young men wanting to earn a living.
The independent MP said the frequent occurrence of accidents are denting operations at the Black Mountain.
Mr. Mpundu attributed the accidents relating to mining activities at the Black Mountain to the failure by the Government to give the locals a chance to participate in the operations.
Individuals picking chrome from the trucks operating at the Black Mountain are the ones being mostly affected by accidents.
“The accidents related to the Black Mountain are heartbreaking. I have received with sadness the news of the two separate accidents that have happened today which have left two young men of my constituency half dead with sadness and my heart bleeds to see such accidents continue to be recorded as a result of young men wanting to earn a living. I have always argued that the black mountain cannot empower the whole country but instead should have been used to empower the people of Kitwe while the other dumpsites in the other mining towns could also have been unlocked to empower the people in those towns as well,” Mr. Mpundu said.
He said communities living around the Black Mountain should not be denied access to the mineral resource in the name of empowering the whole nation.
Mr. Mpundu has urged the UPND government to listen to local people’s concerns regarding operations at the Black Mountain.
“The reasons why we have been recording these accidents and riots is because the owners of the resources (the people of Nkana West, Kandabwe, St Anthony and Nkana constituency) in general feels unfairly treated being subjected to dust while their roads are being damaged and yet they are not even benefiting from the resource they own. I want to appeal to the UPND leadership that we can curb all these disturbances and the accidents if only you listen to our peoples cries and allocate them a fair share,” he said.
“Bane you are sowing a bad seed among the people of Nkana who are complaining every day. These accidents are leaving a very bad impression on the whole empowerment exercise and the continued complaints of our people in Nkana should be addressed before the exercise finishes otherwise Tabakamyelele. My role is to speak for my people and I’m heartbroken over these accidents claiming lives and causing permanent injuries to my people,”Mr. Mpundu said.
Meanwhile, Socialist Party (SP) leader Fred M’membe has questioned why the government is not reporting the deaths occurring at the Black Mountain.
Dr. M’membe is calling on the government to suspend operations at the Black Mountain until proper and accessible safety measures are implemented.
“Why is the government not reporting the many deaths occurring at the Black Mountain in Kitwe? Videos are circulating on social media calling on the authorities to do something about the rising deaths at the Black Mountain. But the government is dead silent and not doing much, or anything, to stop this exceptionally very high mortality. The reality of the deaths at the Black Mountain is being hidden from the nation. The primitive extraction methods being used at the Black Mountain mean that our young people risk death or serious injuries every day,” Dr. M’membe said.
“Effective health and safety monitoring mechanisms are severely lacking at the Black Mountain. We call on the government to suspend operations at the Black Mountain until proper and accessible safety measures are put in place,” he said.