Get organised, small scale miners told

Small scale miners in the emerald sector should get organised and united so as to bring sanity in the sector, says newly elected Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) president Victor Kalesha.

He said it would only be easy for the association to market the sector to potential investors if the small scale miners were well organised and willing to form mining blocks where at least four or five mining units became one unit.

Mr Kalesha, who was elected as ESMAZ president a fortnight ago, said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that the emerald sector had proved to be a very viable project, but lacked attraction to potential investors.

“The emerald sector has proved to be a very viable project, but lacked attraction to potential investors because we are too fragmented. We need to get organised and form mining blocks where at least four or five form one big block.

“If we do this, it will be easy for the association to market the sector to potential investors and by so doing, government will take us seriously and help us when we become a united front,” he said.

Mr Kalesha said his association was currently talking to serious investors to come and help to geologically resurvey the entire emerald area as this was the only way of putting off uncertainties and provide environment for attracting investors in the sector.

“The Zambian Government needs resources to develop the country. Therefore, we believe that the emerald sector is one such sector which can contribute to national development if fully exploited for the benefit of the country.

“It is in this regard that we urge government to take us seriously and engage us in dialogue so as to forge a positive way forward. We are also making arrangements to engage the Republican President Edgar Lungu to sale our ideas to him so that we get his support and blessings to do what we intend to do,” he said.

Mr Kalesha said ESMAZ was a non-political organisation and as such, it would work with the government of the day, adding that ESMAZ would not be used as a political tool to fight or attack government.

He said ESMAZ would act as a mouth piece on behalf of gemstone miners to market the gemstone industry to the outside World and to attract investors in the Emerald sector and other related gemstones.

“Our concern as an association should be the development of the gemstone sector in Zambia, so as to contribute effectively to the economic growth of the country,” Mr Kalesha said.

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