A Daily Nation reporter investigating illegal mining in Chongwe’s Shantumbu area was almost shot on Tuesday early this week.
The reporter was investigating a report that a Chinese company, China Jiangsu International Limited was operating an illegal mining and quarrying project having completely defied a court order restraining it from conducting mining and quarrying activities on land belonging to Vikram Investment Limited.
On reaching the site, a Chinese national instructed a gun totting security guard to open fire forcing the reporter to run for his life while he (Chinese national) was commanding the local workers to give chase.
The workers however refused to help the infuriated Chinese national and instead advised against threatening the journalist because he would be arrested.
China Jiangsu International Limited claims to have been given a mining concession by senior chieftainess Nkomesha Mukamambo II was ordered to stop operating because the land in question had already been allocated to Vikram Investment Limited.
According to documents obtained by the Daily Nation, Vikram Investment Limited was awarded a large scale prospecting licence number 16703-HQ-LPL in Shantumbu area in Chongwe but before the company could commence its mining activities, China Jiangsu International Limited moved on the site and started its illegal mining and quarrying.
But investigations by the Daily Nation have revealed that the named companies have encroached into Vikram Investment Limited prospecting area 16703-HQ-LPL which was duly given to the company by the Ministry of Energy and Water Development.
Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Victor Mutambo in a letter to Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has revealed that another company, Busoli Development Company through Chieftainess Nkomehsa Mukamambo II obtained surface rights and entered into some agreement with China Jiangsu and facilitated the commencement of illegal mining activities.
Dr Mutambo wondered why China Jiangsu International Limited was resisting a court injunction to cease its illegal quarrying activities and remove their earth moving equipment from the area even after Vikram had obtained a court order.
Dr Mutambo revealed that after the High Court ordered that the Chinese company should cease its quarrying operations in Vikram prospecting area, China Jiangsu International attempted to use the backdoor and approached the Ministry of Mines for a mining permit that was granted without disclosing the full encumbrances surrounding the application.
Despite the Ministry of Mines Energy and Mineral Development ordering Jiangsu International Limited and Skyline Quarry Limited, Economic Technical Compnay and Busoli Development Company to stop the mining activities and quarrying, the companies had continued their illegal mining activities, ignoring the court injunction that was granted to Vikram against the companies.
Vikram Investment Limited had gone to court seeking an injunction to restrain Jiangsu and Skyline Quarry Limited from conducting mining activities its large scale prospecting area but even after the order was granted, the Chinese company with its associate companies has continued quarrying.
According to a letter from the Mines Safety Department addressed to Vikram Investment Limited managing director Yeddula Vinod, the company had met all the conditions of the Environmental Assessment Impact but that its prospecting areas was dubiously invaded by China Jiangsu International Limited with the assistance of Busoli Development Company, a company owned by the daughter to Chiefteness Nkomesha Mukamambo.
In its effort to have China Jiangsu International Limited stop its illegal mining and quarrying activities in the prospecting area, Vikram wrote to ZEMA and the agency advised Skyline Quarry Limited and their associate companies to demobilize their earth moving equipment and stop the illegal mining but the companies have ignored all orders.
The companies have also defied orders from the Zambia Police to move from the site and have with impunity continued with its illegal mining and on Tuesday threatened to shoot journalists who had gone to film their activities.