Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma has instructed police in Kitwe to guard the slug dump in Wusakile township and ensure that no illegal mining activities were taking place because the area was not safe for mining operations and could result in loss of lives.
Yaluma said police officers should get rid of illegal copper dealers popularly known as ‘Jerabos’ from the slug dump in Wusakile township and continue guarding the place so that no illegal mining took place there.
The Mines minister said in Kitwe yesterday when he visited the slug dump which is popularly known as the ‘black mountain’ that illegal mining activities should be stopped in the area because they were illegal and dangerous.
“This place is a death trap and we can lose lives today or tomorrow. It is not only a death trap, but it is also illegal. It is for this reason that am instructing the police to guard this place and ensure that no illegal mining activities are taking place until government puts safety measures in place.
“As government, we would also like to empower Zambians by ensuring that these illegal miners are given licences so that their activities are legalized,” Mr Yaluma said.
He said he had been prompted to visit the slug dump because of the many reports he had received about the slug dump including the recent development where some PF cadres had taken over the slug dump and were allegedly selling slug to some Chinese companies.
On Wednesday, some “Jerabos” stormed the parliamentary office of Wusakile Member of Parliament (MP) Richard Musukwa to protest over the decision by some Patriotic Front (PF) cadres to take over the slug dump in Wusakile Township.
The Jerabos, who have been earning their living through illegal mining at the slug dump, were not happy that some PF Copperbelt Provincial executive members, had taken over the slug dump in Wusakile township.
But, Mr Yaluma said no one should claim ownership to the slug dump and that whoever was carrying out mining activities in the area, was doing it illegally and should be arrested.
He instructed the police to arrest anybody who would be found carrying out mining activities in the area regardless of his or her status in society.
“No one should claim ownership of this black mountain and so, as government, we don’t want to hear that some individuals have taken over the black mountain. Government wants to put things in order. We want to put safety measures and legalize the operations here.
“Meanwhile, police should keep an eye on this black mountain until government puts in place safety measures and legalizes the operations. For now, no illegal mining activities at Black Mountain,” he said.