By nation Reporter
GOVERNMENT is working on diversifying the mining sector from general metals to precious stones such as gemstones which has the potential to grow and create employment, says Minister of Mines Christopher Yaluma.
Mr Yaluma said Zambia was performing well in the gemstones sector, hence the need to invest in it.
He was speaking recently at a dinner organised by Kagem company.
“We are trying to diversify from base metals to industrial minerals, energy minerals as well as gemstones and also precious stones because we know on the gemstones front we are kicking very well. I was pleased to see these beautiful ladies here parading these products,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Kagem chairman William Nyirenda said Zambia had a host of beautiful gemstones and a large number of very talented people.
Mr Nyirenda said he was excited to see that Zambia also had the ability to turn skills into exquisitely crafted luxury items.
Kagem also pledged to provide US$345,000 worth of scholarships for students to study mining and geology at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt University (CBU).
Under the terms of the scholarship 12 students over a period of eight years – six from each university – from the geological and mining engineering departments in their second and third years of study would be selected to receive a comprehensive scholarship for the remaining duration of their courses.
The scholarships would cover the full cost of education including tuition fees, boarding fees, up-keep, clothing and book allowances as well as a medical scheme through Kagem.
Students under the scheme would be accorded internship opportunities at Kagem mining during their recess as well as an apprenticeship upon completion of their studies and further training in such areas as deemed necessary by the company.
They would be indentured to work for Kagem for a period corresponding with their individual sponsorship period.
The agreements were part of Kagem’s efforts to help the Government develop more coloured gemstone industry-oriented graduates and professionals that are up-to-date with current technical and theoretical knowledge and mining requirements of the day.
The dinner was attended by the deputy minister of Youth and Sport Ronald Chitolela, as well as Government officials, representatives of the Zambian Olympic Committee, captains of industry, international gemstone buyers and Kagem staff.