Over Two hundred and eighty people in Mwinilunga district in Northwestern province have petitioned President Hakainde Hichilema to hastily reopen Kasenseli Gold mine.
The residents have also petitioned the head of state to remove the Zambia National Service (ZNS) officers manning the mine alleging continued illegal mining activities.
Speaking after delivering the petition with 285 signatures, to Mwinilunga District Commissioner Harrison Kamuna, group representative Kafumbe Sameta said the delayed reopening of the mine has negatively affected the economy of the district.
Mr. Sameta said people in the district had hoped that the discovery and subsequent reopening of Kasenseli Gold mine would improve people’s livelihoods but unfortunately people have continued suffering as the mine remains closed.
“People in Mwinilunga have continued crying and suffering as they feel neglected at the time when there are economic hardships which have become worse,” he said.
He said following the advice from the government, people in the area proceeded to form cooperatives through which they would mine the minerals and sell to ZCCM-IH but this has not materialized leaving people in the area with unanswered questions.
Mr. Sameta added that people in the district want the operations of the mine to be given to them through cooperatives so that they can be empowered just like cooperatives from other parts of the country with gold mines.
“The people of Mwinilunga want the mine to be opened as soon as possible as it will make them feel part and parcel to the new dawn government as it is happening in other parts of the country where they have gold deposits” said Mr. Sameta.
He explained that it is critical that the mine is opened as it will create employment opportunities for the many unemployed youths, attract various investments and broaden the revenue base for the local authority thereby improving service delivery.
Mr. Sameta has since appealed to President Hakainde Hichilema to consider this as a matter of urgency as people in the area have now lost hope and patience over the delays to reopen the mine.