The Local Authority in Kapiri Mposhi District has expressed concern over the mushrooming of illegal manganese mining activities in the area.
Kapiri Mposhi Town Council Chairperson, Brilliant Munyeke said some unscrupulous firms and individuals are engaging villagers to mine manganese without following legal and safety procedures.
Mr Munyeke noted that the residents mostly comprising women and youths are mining manganese which they later sell to unscrupulous firms and businessmen at exploitative prices.
The council chairperson said this after he and Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner, Francis Hasalama visited some illegal mining sites in Kampumba area in Chief Mukonchi Chiefdom today.
Mr Munyeke said the development is depriving the Council of revenue from mining activities being conducted indirectly through villagers by unscrupulous mining companies and businessmen.
” We have visited some of the mining areas where women and youths even children are being exploited to dig for Manganese by some unscrupulous companies and individuals especially in the outskirts of the district. We want to warn these individuals to desist from this illegal act and formalize their mining activities,” Mr Munyeke said.
He has since encouraged women and youths engaged in the illegal mining activities to form cooperatives for them to access empowerment through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to venture into small scale mining activities in their areas.
Meanwhile, Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner, Francis Hasalama has bemoaned the unsafe conditions the miners are operating in.
“There are a lot of women and youths who are being exploited, the way they are working without protective clothing, even the money they are being paid by the same businessmen is very little. We have to change this situation,” Mr Hasalama said.