Government has called for an end to the illegal mining activities currently taking place in the Luena Farm Block in Kawambwa District.
Kawambwa District Commissioner, Godfrey Chilambwe says the on-going manganese mining activities were not only illegal but also causing a huge damage to the environment on the farm block meant for agricultural development.
Mr. Chilambwe was speaking during the District Joint Operation Committee (DJOC) second day tour of the farm block to determine the extent of the reported illegal mining activities in Luena Farm Block.
He said it was disheartening to see the Luena Farm Block being invaded by illegal mining activities when government had committed itself to develop the agricultural sector through adequate funding.
The District Commissioner has urged those mining in the farm block to obtain proper documentation adding that illegalities were not going to be condoned as the environmental degradation that was being caused was huge.
“I am calling for concerted efforts from stakeholders in the district to work together in ensuring that the Luena Farm Block is safeguarded from total destruction by selfish individuals who have no interest in the welfare of the district and the people,” Mr. Chilambwe urged.
And District Agriculture Coordinator, Steven Musonda said there was a big concern from the Ministry of Agriculture over the illegalities in the farm block saying any open pit mining activity was causing damage to the land meant for farming purposes.
Mr. Musonda stated that the purpose of the farming block was being defeated and if left unchecked would result in the whole block taken over by illegal miners.
He disclosed that there was a need for the casual workers being abused in these illegal mines to be incorporated into farming throughout-grower schemes to make them become financially sustainable.
“There is need to protect the farm block from possible destruction as it is the Government’s interest to see the farming block achieve its intended purpose of agricultural development related activities and not illegal mining,” Mr. Musonda said.
Meanwhile, Kawambwa Town Council Secretary, Isaac Mwale expressed disappointment at the high number of illegal activities taking place in the Luena Farm Block.
Mr. Mwale said it was against the law for those doing the actual mining in the farm block when in fact they had just obtained exploration licences.
He said it was a requirement under the law for anyone conducting any business in the district to be registered with the Local Authority including following the right procedure of conducting the business.
The Council Secretary noted that the district was endowed with a good rainfall pattern capable of transforming Kawambwa into a food basket of the province and the country at large.
Mr. Mwale further echoed the need to conduct sensitisation among the local people saying it is going to help them know the effects of such illegal activities.
The mining areas visited during the operation by the DJOC members include Kanengo, Green 2000, Chibote and Chisembe.
Luena Farm Block in Kawambwa District, Luapula Province has over 100,000 hectares of land meant for various agricultural activities.
This is according to a statement to Zambia News and Information Services – ZANIS by Kawambwa Town Council Public Relations Officer, Norman Kashi.