Ndola District Commissioner Joseph Phiri has warned people illegally mining manganese in Mushili Township to stop immediately before they face the law.
Illegal mining of manganese in an unauthorised area is becoming rampant in Ndola with Police on the Copperbelt so far arresting five people in connection with the matter.
Groups of people have been seen illegally mining manganese in Ndola’s Lupili residential area in recent times.
Mushili’s Lupili Ward Councilor Emmanuel Mulenga has been raising alarm over the illegal mining activities in the area.
After visiting the areas where manganese is being mined illegally, Mr. Phiri, who was accompanied by Police, said mining is a sophisticated venture that requires right procedure and coordination with the authorities.
He said people involving themselves in unlicensed mining are committing a crime and will be arrested.
“This afternoon I visited Mushili hillside Bwana Mkubwa; there is a group of people who have started mining minerals in the said area of which these people are said to be Mushili residents. Now we took time to educate and warn them because of the mining activity. There are procedures that must be followed and these are as follows. You must get the coordinates from the lands and take them to the cadastral to see if that area doesn’t have any one who has a mining or exploration license. You can’t just get a mining license directly first it’s an exploration license that you must get then a mining license you apply after exploring the minerals you have found there of which a geological report must be issued,” Mr. Phiri said.
“You must understand that there are several mining rights of which the cadastral team will guide and tell you the steps to take. After having these Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) team should come and inspect the area those are people who can allow you to go ahead or not due to their findings so the beautiful people of Ndola city please let’s take precautions seriously every land in Ndola or Zambia in general has a map reading. So don’t involve yourselves in unlicensed mining, it’s a crime and you will be arrested,” he said.
In some latest incidents, Police have arrested three people who were found loading manganese onto a truck which they had illegally mined.
Copperbelt Police Commanding Officer Peacewell Mweemba has confirmed that Police officers rushed to the area where the illegal activity was being conducted and managed to arrest three people.
Mr. Mweemba identified the suspects as Thompson Matimba aged 36 years of Chipata Compound in Ndola, Chiza Matimba aged 34 years of Chazanga in Lusaka and Emmanuel Nsamba aged 35 years of Ndeke in Ndola.
The three were charged with the offence of criminal trespass and detained in custody while the truck, a Scania and trailer belonging to Shaann Carriers of Lusaka which was found about a quarter loaded with manganese has been impounded and parked at Masala Police Station.
“They were charged with the offence of criminal trespass and detained in custody while the truck a Scania by make Registration No BAF 2470 and trailer Registration No BAL 7302 belonging to Shaann Carriers of Lusaka which was found about a quarter loaded with manganese has been impounded and parked at Masala Police Station. Investigations are ongoing,” Mr. Mweemba said.
Last February, two other suspects were arrested by Police for conducting illegal mining activities in a residential area without permission
Meanwhile, research shows that manganese toxicity can result in a permanent neurological disorder known as manganism with symptoms that include tremors, difficulty walking, and facial muscle spasms.
These symptoms are often preceded by other lesser symptoms, including irritability, aggressiveness, and hallucinations.