The government of Zambia has launched a probe on illegal issuance of mining licenses. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Paul Kabuswe made the announcement in parliament and pointed out that the current government was not going to allow what happened in the past in the way licenses were being issued which saw the issuance of licenses even in areas where it was not suitable to conduct mining activities.
“As government we have instituted a serious audit on how licenses were issued in the past. There were a lot of irregularities in the manner the licenses were issued,” Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Paul Kabuswe said.
According to him, the issuance of licenses will now follow strict adherence to laid down procedures, adding that any applicant that will not abide by the requirements will not be granted the license. He further said all licenses that will be found to have been irregularly issued will be repossessed.
The ministry will partner with other ministries such as the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment before issuing any mining licenses. Zambia has a long history of mining, predominantly in copper and cobalt. Historically, mine development has been concentrated in an area known as Copperbelt Province. The Copperbelt mines are renowned for their high-grade deposits.
Exploration activity in recent years has raised the potential for opening up new centres for copper mining in the north-west and east of the country. Zambia’s flagship copper project, Lumwana Mine, was commissioned in December 2008 and has been a successful project producing 125,000 metric tonnes in 2015 alone.
Zambia also hosts small-scale gold, coal, manganese and zinc deposits. In recent years, exploration has significantly expanded throughout Zambia to include prospecting for non-traditional minerals such as nickel and uranium, with some exploration for diamonds.