PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has encouraged more young Zambians to engage in gold mining and production, as that is critical for wealth and job creation.
He says the mining sector remains an important part of Zambia’s economy.
President Lungu adds that gold mining, if well harnessed, will significantly improve the social and economic well-being of Zambians.
The President spoke when he opened the Fifth Session of the National Assembly on Friday.
“Notwithstanding the low levels of production, gold mining remains strategic to the economic diversification and job creation agenda,” President Lungu said.
“I wish to report that the Zambia Gold Company Limited has since began purchasing gold from artisanal and small-scale-miners in Rufunsa, Vubwi, Mumbwa and Luano districts.”
He added that the Zambia Gold Company Limited commenced gold mining operations in Kasenseli area in Mwinilunga district in June this year.
“Gold mining, if well harnessed, will significantly improve the social and economic well-being of our people,” he said.
“I therefore encourage more of our people to engage in gold mining and production, as this is critical for wealth and job creation.”
The President tipped the country’s youth to form cooperatives through which they would be empowered to participate in gold mining activities.
He noted that so far, 13 cooperatives in Rufunsa and Petauke districts have been created and supported to increase production.
The Zambia Gold Company Limited, according to President Lungu, was established to spearhead gold mining activities in the country following the government’s declaration of gold as a strategic mineral.
Further, President Lungu pledged that the PF government would continue to promote diversification within the mining sector.
He said such would be done by exploiting other minerals in addition to copper.
President Lungu told the House that nickel production increased from 817 metric tonnes in 2019 to 3,394 metric tonnes over the same period this year.
“A significant increase of 77.6 per cent was also recorded in manganese production. It increased from 10,431 metric tonnes in 2019 to 18,530 metric tonnes in 2020,” President Lungu revealed.
On average, the President said, Zambia’s mining sector accounted for 14 per cent of gross domestic product and 74.4 per cent of total export earnings during the period 2016 to 2019.
“During the same period, copper production averaged 805,000 metric tonnes,” said President Lungu.
©Kalemba September 13, 2020