MINES and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe says the Government will soon sign a countrywide mineral mapping deal with a renowned mineral exploration giant.
Mr Kabuswe said President Hakainde Hichilema was serious about the issue of delinking the mining sector from politics to promote a professional extractive industry, beneficial to everyone.
He said the country had been short changed owing to lack of updated data on certain minerals such as sugilite gold and lithium, among others.
“We will sign a deal on a countrywide mineral mapping exercise, something that has not happened in this country, only 45-50 percent of the country is mapped, we are serious about it,” he said.
Mr Kabuswe said on Friday in Kitwe during a consultative meeting with suppliers and contractors as well as captains of industry on the Copperbelt, that previous politicking in the mining industry had led to the ‘collapse’ of the mining industry.
“President Hichilema wants to depoliticise the mining industry, previously there was a lot of politics in the mining industry and this led to the meagre contribution of the mining industry to the economy of the country,” he said.
He said the Government was coming up with a new Mining and Mineral Act that would allow for the full participation of locals in the mining value chain.
“We are refining the local content law that will allow for a reset of the mining sector. We have come up with a mining commission which means we have already started implementation,” he said.
He noted that the country has had no regulations and that a commission had been missing to regulate the mining sector.
Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors (AMSC) president Costa Mwaba urged for a strong mining local content law to compel mining companies to start prioritising locals in the procuring of goods and services.
Mr Mwaba said local suppliers and contractors were at the mercy of mining firms who dictate payment terms.
Meanwhile, Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KDCCI) president Emmanuel Mbambiko acknowledged efforts by the Government to unlock Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines.