SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Livingstone
THE Federation of Small Scale Mining Associations of Zambia (FSSMAZ) has urged Government to help small-scale miners acquire machinery to add value to gemstones.
FSSMAZ vice-secretary general Martford Mumba said there are over 400 licensed small-scale miners across the country who are facing a challenge of lack of machinery.
Mr Mumba said the miners do not have the capacity to operate at full capacity due to lack of machinery.
Speaking in an interview in Livingstone recently, Mr Mumba said most of the gemstones are exported as raw materials and are creating employment outside the country through processing.
He said there is need to add value to local gemstones and export them as finished products which will create more money as well as employment locally.
Mr Mumba said there is need to have local copper pricing so that the local small -scale miners can access their locally produced mineral.
“Why should we get prices from the London Metal Exchange when the copper is just in our backyard, there is no access to get copper locally, yet it is produced in the country,” he said
He said most copper -producing companies already have their buyers outside the country, which is acceptable, but they must also supply their local clients.
Mr Mumba said Government should pay attention to small scale miners, as they are “sitting on huge reserves of minerals”.
Mr Mumba said FSSMAZ, with the help of the European Union, intends to explore the potential in low value minerals such as granite and talc which are in abundance countrywide.