By DERRICK SILIMINA
The Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) urges small scale miners to form cooperatives if they are to benefit from Grizzly Mining Ltd’s $10 million worth of mining equipment.
Grizzly Mining Limited recently committed to spend $10 million to procure mining equipment for small-scale emerald miners. The mining firm pledged to procure the equipment on condition that the 600 small-scale miners in Lufwanyama district, form cooperatives and acquire a single mining license.
Association President Victor Kalesha said its high time small holder miners avoid holding onto their individual tenement but instead take advantage of Grizzly Mining scheme if real empowerment is to be actualized.
“I think time has come for us to do the right thing because in holding on to our individual small tenements, may not take us anywhere. So, what we are encouraging our members is that forming a cooperative does not mean that you will lose your mine or your license but it’s in our interest to benefit from Grizzly Mining scheme that would likely take off soon.”
He explained that the condition is that all the small-scale mines should form cooperatives and then amalgamate into a single entity so that Government can issue a mining license.
Kalesha has hinted that since the project will be supervised by government, his association will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with all stakeholders to kickstart the scheme.
“Grizzly Mining has pledged to procure exploration and mining equipment, those cooperatives that will prove to be viable, equipment will move in for operations and any productions will be secured by government through the Ministry of mines to await auction and then the proceed will be shared accordingly,” Kalesha noted.
Beneficiary cooperatives will be able to procure own equipment after auction of their commodities is done and will have the capacity to continue working on their own as cooperatives.
Kalesha highlighted that his association will engage with the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) to ensure that the cooperatives are legalized to ensure effective and smooth operations of the project.
“As an association, we are proud that we have clinched this deal with Grizzly Mining Ltd and we will very soon be going to sign an MoU which may only be expedited by the formation of cooperatives. We are proud that under the new dawn government, we are ready to contribute to the coffers of the national treasury as well as job creation for our country,” Kalesha emphasized.
Grizzly mining Chief Executive Officer Abdoul Ba recently announced that his mining company would procure four dump trucks at $600,000 each, two excavators at $800,000 each and two bulldozers worth $1.3 million each as well as procure two graders (at $400,000 each), two mining water pumps ($200,000 each), three drilling machines for exploration ($800,000 each) and one water bowser worth $600,000.
He said although emerald mining appears simple, it was not as basic as people think because it requires technical knowhow and proper management as well as discipline.
Ba further explained that emerald mining also required patience as production was not instant and could take a long period before high-grade emerald could be produced.
“The condition is that all the small-scale mines should form cooperatives and then amalgamate into a single entity so that Government can issue a mining license. On our part as Grizzly, we are prepared to procure equipment for them and we will spend $10 million on condition that they form cooperatives and get amalgamated so that a single mining license can be granted.”