Tuesday, May 28, 2024

ZEMA closes down an illegal manganese mine operating in the premises of Muchinda Boarding School


The Zambia Environmental Management Agency – ZEMA has closed down an illegal manganese mine operating in the premises of Muchinda Boarding School in Serenje District of Central Province.

ZEMA Acting Director General Maxwell Nkoya stated that after conducting an assessment at the site, the inspectors at the site found out that the mine had no authority to embark on large scale open pit mining at the school premises.

Mr Nkoya disclosed that he had issued a stop order to the mine a few days ago to cease all its operations, adding that it is unfortunate that the mining operations went ahead despite the mine owners not getting approval from ZEMA.

And Serenje Member of Parliament George Kantafula has welcomed the decision by ZEMA to close down the illegal mine.

Mr Kantafula mentioned that the mining activities were threatening the safety of buildings at Muchinda Boarding School and as well as a nearby bridge.

Meanwhile, Chief Kabamba of the Lala people of Serenje District in Central Province expressed unhappiness with the Investor Mining at Serenje’s Muchinda Boarding School premises, adding that he is disturbed by a Zambian investor conducting large scale open pit manganese mining at Muchinda Boarding Secondary School premises in Serenje District, of Central Province.

The Traditional Leader who is a Caretaker of the Muchinda Chiefdom following the demise of Chief Muchinda years ago said that the Royal Establishment and the people of Muchinda could not believe to see a mine and mining activities taking place at the school premises.

“I was almost implicated that I went tell the community members about the people who want to extend and complete the construction of the Muchinda Boarding School, but the community being the major stakeholder was supposed to be engaged and consulted beforehand, because if the community is not involved whom will you stay with and consult,” he said

Chief Kabamba has since urged the Government to step up efforts in addressing the matter, stating that despite mining being an important economic activity that brought about jobs and increased host communities spending power, but order needed to prevail on how things are to be conducted.

“The removal of mineral royalties to chiefdoms has left chiefs as mayor spectators without benefiting in any way,” Chief Kabamba said

He disclosed that they had eight processing plants in Pensulo Musonda area in his Chiefdom but little or no benefit could be felt in the Chiefdom.

Chief Kabamba mentioned that the mining activities had simply worsened the 50km Kabundi Road which continued to deteriorate.

He highlighted this when the Centre for Environment Justice – CEJ paid a courtesy call on him at his Palace in Serenje.

And CEJ Executive Director Maggie Mwape was shocked that the investor was daring the New Dawn Government which recently closed some non-compliant mines violating environmental regulations.

Ms Mwape warned that the total disregard by the investor violates children’s Right to Education especially that the school has water supply and electricity.

She explained that the Government in 2013 started building a boarding school in Kabundi area with works currently exceeding 85% to completion, this helped children access education unlike the 50 Kilometres distance pupils covered to access senior secondary school.

Ms Mwape emphasized that CEJ was not against investors as they created job opportunities, paid taxes, increased host communities’ income and raised the purchasing power of locals, leading to an overall boost in targeted economies.

The CEJ Executive Director has since called on the Government to complete the school, further requesting the Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Mines to tour the school and the mine.

Ms Mwape disclosed that the aim of their organization is to work on two projects in the Chiefdom that will ensure that the people within the Chiefdom are impacted with knowledge and skills that will help improve their livelihood.


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