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Zambia concerned to increase exploitation of manganese in Luapula
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Saturday, 12 Mar 2011
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Zambia, Africa’s largest copper producer is concerned at the increased exploitation of manganese in Luapula, north Eastern part of the country by people who are mining the product using prospecting licenses.

Luapula province, sharing the border with Democratic Republic of Congo is one of Zambia’s leading producers of manganese in which several local and foreign investors have sought exploration licenses to establish the ore contend with a view to secure full scale mining rights in the area.

Mr Besa Chimbaka Luapula province Minister said that there is a lot of confusion in the way the manganese mineral is being mined in the province and that there are many people in the province who have been mining the mineral using prospecting licenses which is against the law.

According to authorities, the illegal miners took advantage of people’s ignorance on the existence of huge deposits of minerals in the province and acquired big tracts of land where they are mining the mineral illegally. Some of the miners got prospecting licenses which they are using for mining, contrary to the law.

Mr Chimbaka warned people flouting the law to stop the practice as they risked prosecution and advised those people mining the ore using prospecting licenses to stop and apply for appropriate papers to formalize their presence in the area than on the pretext of exploration. The government is working tirelessly to harmonize the mining sector in the province and ensure the country benefited from the presence of manganese and other precious metals which include copper, iron ore, tin and others, some whose reserves stretch into the neighboring DR Congo.

According to data, Zambia, Luapula province in particular has one of the best graded manganese in the world and if nurtured, would earn the country revenue in addition to copper. According to information available, it was until recent that ZAMBIA REALISED THE PRESENCE OF Manganese in the area which the authorities are now seeking to normalize before issuing commercial and full scale mining licenses.

Mr Jazzman Chikwakwa former permanent secretary of Luapula Province said that Zambia has one of the best manganese products in the world which should be exploited to increase revenue from the mining sector.

Mr Chikwakwa noticed that the initial plan for the province did not embrace the opening of the mines in the area and the with the booming mining activities in the province now, there is need to put up measures that will protect the roads and oblige the mining companies to take their social responsibilities seriously.

He commended that the government for putting up a Mines Department in the province which he said will help to monitor the operations of the mines and also easy the issuance of the mining licenses. He advised the local miners to take advantage of the mining department in the area and obtain their mining licenses.

The manganese being mined in the province is one of the best in the world adding that the local miners should therefore take advantage of this and invest in mining in addition to other businesses. The government intends to bring in a refinery plant in the area to process manganese. Earthstone Minerals Resources,a foreign company recent indicated willingness to exploit the manganese potential in Luapula and other parts of Zambia for exports.

(Filed by Mr Kapembwa Sinkamba SteelGuru Correspondent Zambia)

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