CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Livingstone
PRESIDENT Lungu has directed Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Christopher Yaluma to intensify geological mapping and exploration of the country’s
The President says the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development should work closely with the University of Zambia (UNZA) and other research institutions to execute the task because about 40 percent of the country has remained unmapped.
He said this here yesterday when he officially opened an international conference on the geology and mining of minerals and groundwater resources of sub-Saharan Africa.
The three-day conference, which has attracted over 500 delegates from more than 20 countries worldwide, is dubbed ‘Opportunities and challenges’.
“The mining sector in the region is currently challenged with high exploration costs, insufficient numbers of well-trained manpower, inadequate infrastructure for research and development and innovation and less efficient mining practices.
“This is mainly because most of the African continent, even after more than a century of geological mapping, mineral exploration and exploitation activities, large tracts of terrains remain unmapped as geological research has not received the needed attention and priority,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu has further directed the ministries of Mines and Mineral Development; Water, Sanitation and Environmental Protection; Higher Education, as well as the Water Resources Management Authority to institute research in new methods of exploration and mining.
He said the ministries and relevant stakeholders should also support geological scientific research and undertake further research in mining policy, health, safety and environmental impacts.
Mr Lungu also said there is need to promote multi-disciplinary research for better understanding and linkages across and among institutions on different interrelated sectors of the country’s economic development towards Vision 2030.
The President urged the conference delegates to adopt best practices for the enhancement of the sector.
President Lungu urged the delegates to devise balanced and practical solutions on how natural resources should be exploited without jeopardising other natural resources.
He cited mining as one of the activities that can endanger water resources when proper methods are not applied.
Mr Lungu commended UNZA for bringing together experts in mineral, mining and water-related issues from across the globe.
President Lungu said the conference is timely because Africa is witnessing rapid population growth which can lead to the depletion of natural resources and pollution.
And Mr Yaluma said Zambia’s mining sector currently faces weaknesses in policy, legal and regulatory frameworks.
He said Zambia’s frameworks have for a long time been more of licensing tools than development enablers and lack linkages needed to spur industrialisation and economic transformation.
“Let me be quick to mention that measures are being undertaken to address the challenge. The 2015 Mines and Minerals Development Act, for example, seeks to strengthen the legal framework,” Mr Yaluma said.