Coperbelt businessman, George Jere, who has interests in the mining sector, says the government should register sugilite in the national gazette.
Jere said in interview with Zambia Monitor on Friday that it would be difficult for the law enforcement officers to pursue illegal miners of new minerals, like sugilite, if the mineral was not recognised by the law.
“There is copper theft enshrined in the law making it possible to pursue those dealing in copper illegally hence the need for the government to move and come up with the Statutory Instrument (SI) for the mineral,” he said.
Jere, a former Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors (AMSC) general secretary, said gazetting sugilite among other new minerals would help the country gain more economic benefits.
Jere said the government needed to move in and declare sugilite and other minerals not yet in government gazette as strategic minerals.
“The government should expedite the process of gazetting new minerals like lithium and sugilite because for now it will be difficult to curb illegal mining of the new minerals because prosecution and accountability will become difficult ,” he said.
Jere, a proponent of Vedanta Resources return to Konkola Copper Mine (KCM), said the government should enhance its communication strategy to prepare residents for Vedanta come.
“From the moment previous government instituted a liquidation process on KCM it was imminent that Vedanta, the majority shareholder, had high chances of reclaiming ownership, but the government needs to communicate effectively because there will be definitely a backlash from the residents,” he said.
Jere noted that it was encouraging that government was following due process on the issues of KCM ownership.
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