The Zambian government on Sunday dispelled assertions that it was only interested in giving foreign firms licenses for gold mining in the country.
Stakeholders have questioned the government’s decision to enter into a joint venture partnership with a foreign firm, Array Metals, to process production from as gold deposit in Mumbwa district, west of Lusaka.
State mining investment firm, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH), through its subsidiary Consolidated Gold Company Zambia signed the deal with the foreign firm last week, with stakeholders crying foul that the deal would have been given to a local firm.
Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga said the government was committed to ensuring that gold benefits the local people.
The government, he said, has since declared gold as a strategic mineral meant to allow all citizens to benefit from its exploitation.
“This means gold must be differently handled compared to other minerals in the country,” he said in a statement.
He wondered why stakeholders were criticizing the ZCCM-IH for entering into a joint venture with a foreign firm when the law states that licenses for gold mining should be given to both Zambian and foreign firms.
According to him, almost 92 percent of all licenses for gold mining were owned by Zambians, adding that license holders were free to seek capital investment from either banks or other investors.
Gold resources, he said, was a game-changer for the country and that cabinet has given directives over matters involving gold. Enditem