News Column

'Help Us Set Up Plant Hire Scheme'

June 24, 2014

Judith Namutowe



THE Emerald and Semi Precious Stones Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) hasappealed to Government to assist emerald miners set up a plant hire scheme.

ESMAZ general secretary Victor Kalesha said this when he made a presentation on the emerald industry at the just ended mining indaba in Ndola at the weekend.

ESMAZ general secretary Victor Kalesha said Government should step in and help small-scale miners and emerald miners in particular to establish a plant hire scheme.

He said it was important that Government assisted emerald miners as they had the potential to contribute to economic growth.

Mr Kalesha said this when he made a presentation on the emerald industry at the just- ended mining indaba in Ndola at the weekend.

He said the association had noted that financing wings of Government like the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), Development

Bank of Zambia (DBZ) and other lending institutions were not willing to help small scale miners.

"In this case we feel government should step in and help small-scale miners in the emerald industry which has the potential to contribute to national economy.

"We expect government to come in and establish a plant hire scheme for emerald miners, which will assist them, access equipment either on loan or part time basis," he said.

Mr Kalesha said the Association was aware of Government's intentions of engaging Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines- Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) to help small-scale miners, but that it was taking a little bit longer.

"We are appealing to ZCCM-IH to move quickly and define their programme of helping small scale miners as a government initiative.

Government should also immediately set a dedicated department for small-scale mining at the ministry of mines which will ensure the sector becomes as active as large scale mines," he said.

Mr Kalesha said presently, the Ministry of Mines was concentrating on base metal large-scale mines, thereby neglecting small-scale miners who could equally contribute positively to national development.

He noted that the performance of the emerald industry had been disappointing in terms of contributing to the country's economy since discovery of first deposits, yet this was an industry that could relieve the nation out of total dependence on copper mining, if fully exploited.

Mr Kalesha, however, said that a few companies that were operational have created job opportunities for the Zambians.

He said Grizzly and Kagem mines had so far employed more than 600 people between them, but that the association still felt that companies like Kagem could do a little more in job creation because it was sitting on over 42 square kilometres of land endowed with minerals.

Mr Kalesha hailed Grizzly mining for the support it was rendering to Government in terms of grading roads.


For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel



Source: AllAfrica