It is sad that some of our investors are practising unsustainable mining when Government is doing everything possible to ensure the sector continues to be profitable.
As recent as last month, Government was announcing new measures, pertaining to mineral royalty tax reduction, which will help the mining sector to remain profitable.
But it is disappointing that while the Zambian Government is bending backwards to ensure a win-win situation, investors in the mining sector are either arm-twisting Government or are breaching agreements which call for sustainable mining.
It would appear their thinking is all about making profit at whatever cost and practices.
Unsustainable mining practices are not only bad for Zambians but also for the future generations as they have long lasting negative consequences.
Therefore, Government should take an interest in the World Bank report which has revealed unsustainable practices in the mining sector.
Government should ensure that the various environmental pieces of legislation so far enacted together with the Mines and Mineral Act work for the good of the investors and Zambians.
This is because unsustainable mining practices should not be a way for Zambia as they add to challenges of poverty, economic growth and human development, through increased environmental degradation and the associated health damages and socioeconomic consequences.
Since we do not expect the World Bank to lie about this matter, we urge Government to put in place measures that would correct put a stop to the unsustainable mining practices.
We know that for those whose relationship with the mines end at mineral wealth creation, this could be difficult to understand and accept.
This is because current employment statistics rank the mining sector as the second highest after Government, with over 70,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The mining sector is also known to be one of the highest contributors to Government revenue through the various taxes it pays.
Therefore, it could be puzzling to some that the very sector that keeps the lifeline of Zambia’s economy can be the worst enemy of the people when mining is conducted unsustainably.
This should not be allowed to continue when the intention of opening up the mines is to create wealth for Zambians.
Therefore, the pieces of legislation that Zambia has been enacting on environment over the years should not be allowed to gather dust on the shelves but work for Zambians.
Government should ensure that there is sustainable mining in Zambia so that there is a win-win situation for both the investor and Zambians.