Government has called for responsible mining in the manganese mineral rich Serenje District of Central Province, in order to safeguard the environment.
Serenje Town Council Secretary, Stan Mwanakayaya, advised that stakeholders should focus on sustainable development that ensured the well-being of citizens and preservation of cultural heritage.
Mwanakayaya said this in a statement read on his behalf by Serenje Town Council District Planning Officer, Mwamba Mukupa, at a Community Symposium on Tuesday.
He said the Council was committed to working collaboratively with Organisations like Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ), and Industry players to strike a balance that promotes economic growth.
“As we engage in the discussions today, let us keep in mind the delicate balance we must strike,” Mwanakayaya stated.
He emphasized that this should be done while safeguarding the environment and the rights of community members.
Mwanakayaya noted that mining played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of the District as it brings opportunities for development and growth, through providing jobs and contributing significantly to the global economy.
“I extend my gratitude to CEJ for organising this Community Symposium, a platform bringing together key stakeholders to address Environmental challenges posed by mining in the region,” he said.
Mwanakayaya stated that it was imperative to address the ecological disruption, water pollution and habitat degredation.
“The vulnerable groups struggle with disruption of their daily lives, health Implications or challenges in accessing education.
As we discuss the benefits of mining, we must also address challenges to find ways to inclusively distribute the benefits among all members of society,” he said.
CEJ Board Member, Emmanuel Mutamba, paid tribute to Bread for the World of Germany, for providing resources towards the Resilient Initiatives for Sustainable Environment Project being implemented in Serenje and Sinazongwe Districts.
“I’m grateful to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), Village Headmen, the youth, Government Officials, Civic Leaders and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for attending the symposium,” he said.
Mutamba said mining can be beneficial if all systems were followed.
“We are well endowed with mineral resources but because we have little or no capacity to execute large scale mining, we had to attract those with financial muscles to help us mine,” he stated.
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