The Lusaka mining cadastre department has issued out 500 mining licenses since reopening six months ago after a period of restructuring, Mines and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe has said.
Speaking during a press briefing yesterday, Mr Kabuswe said of the 500, more than 150 had been given to artisanal Zambian miners, 150 for exploration, 145 to small scale miners and 21 for large scale mining operations.
“The reason behind Government’s decision to restructure the cadastre was to ensure that operations begun running in a coordinated manner. Secondly, we wanted to ensure that Zambians are empowered and that this issue of one miner sitting on 50 licenses is dealt with,” Mr Kabuswe said.
He said under the new mining licensing regime, a developer would only be allowed to hold a maximum of five mining licenses.
Mr Kabuswe said the establishment of a mineral resource commission would soon be concluded and the body would have the mandate to regulate the sector.
“So the commission will have the mandate to regulate the mining of all minerals including gold, Sugilite, manganese and all these minerals to ensure that both exploration and actual mining are done coherently,” he said.
Mr Kabuswe said the commission would also ensure that investors in the sector made the correct declarations for the country to derive maximum benefit for the mineral endowment.
He said the commission would also be key in helping unlock rigidities which were impeding sector growth.
“We have issues currently ongoing around KCM and Mopani and let me state here that we are nearing the conclusion, the matter should have been settled in the first quarter of this year but for some court matters that arose. But let me assure the people of Zambia that we are very close to concluding the matter,” he said.
Mr Kabuswe said the Government Attached importance to unlocking the two mines due to their significance to the national economy and that of the Copperbelt.