DARLINGTON MWENDABAI, Chipata
GOVERNMENT will soon deploy security officers to curb the illegal mining of alluvial gold to flush out foreigners involved in the vice.
Alluvial gold refers to the type of gold dust found in that kind of soil. When the beds of rivers or streams are scooped and panned for gold dust, the product is referred to as alluvial gold.
Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development permanent secretary Paul Chanda bemoaned the high levels of illegal mining of alluvial gold that is destroying the environment and depriving the nation of revenue.
Responding to a press query, Mr Chanda said illegal mining is taking place countrywide citing rampant activities in Vubwi, Petauke, Rufunsa and Luano.
Recently, the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development undertook a scoping mission to Vubwi in Eastern Province, Rufansa in Lusaka and Luano in Central Province to assess the extent of illegal gold mining and the findings revealed a high level of illegal trade.
“There are different types of illegal mining activities but the most outstanding one involves mining of alluvial gold. Mining activities are conducted in remote areas and accessibility to the sites is a challenge, making it conducive for illegal mining activities.
“The miners are going for high- grade alluvial gold with over 90 percent gold purity panned from the streams and is being sold without any processing involved,” he said.
Mr Chanda said miners in the affected areas lacked information regarding taxation and formalisation requirements due to non-availability of Government offices in areas where illegal mining is conducted.
“It is unfortunate that illegal gold miners have no consideration for safety health and environment issues,” he said.
Mr Chanda said the ministry will engage the Ministry of Works and Supply to help develop access roads to the gold panning areas while the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry will help link the associations to providers of gold panning equipment.
He called on local illegal miners to form associations to enable them get licensed and assured that the ministry will help them acquire gold panning certificates.