Mines Minister Richard Musukwa says government has given a mining license to Nkana Alloys Smelting company limited to run the famous Black Mountain in Kitwe, on conditions that it works with locals dealers.

And Musukwa says government has further removed the “illegal miners” tag on the Black Mountain activities as the new operators will now be called “small scale miners”.

Speaking during his tour of the Copperbelt Province in the company of Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo and Provincial Minister Japhen Mwakalombe, Musukwa warned that youths who would bring confusion over the ownership of the Black Mountain would be dealt with.

“You know through your youth leadership that at that [Black] Mountain, there are our colleagues who have a license, Nkana alloy. The Nkana alloy we sat with them and told them that ‘you can’t just work alone without engaging our people’. Our people are also suppose to be eating there bit by bit. So all what is required is peace. So confusion can only occur if we don’t follow the law. Our Republic of Zambia President looked at this problem and said ‘how best can our youths benefit from this [Black Mountain]?’ And this is the solution that we have brought because you were crying to the president, you were crying to the government that they have left you alone and now the government has found a solution so that all of us have a win-win situation,” Musukwa said.

Musukwa also said those that will be working at the black mountain should work without fear because the mine has been regulated into a legal entity.

“If you were called ‘illegal miners’ all the time, we have changed the name now, you are now called “small scale miners”. As long as we do it with respect, we will be working without running away, so that we can also be able to take care of our families. So those of you who are working there, don’t be selfish. We want to bring dignity to our citizens, our locals. As the ministry in charge, I want to state here that local people must participate in the mining operations of our country. So government has regulated you to be a legal entity. So we want you to do your paper work nicely. If there is any problem, just give us a call. That is what we want. We don’t want you to end there. When you start making money, you should grow from being a small-scale miner into a large-scale miner. We want you to come to us and say ‘give us a mine because we want to start digging for ourselves,” he said.

Meanwhile Musukwa urged the miners to work in harmony and respect one another.

“If you are doing any mining operation in this country, we have laws and that is why we have the director of mine safety and PS. So we want when you start working, it’s important to follow the laws and regulations that have been put in place. We don’t want accidents to be occurring when people are working. When you start working, we don’t want confusion especially Wusakile or the entire Kitwe, we don’t want confusion. That habit of saying ‘they already know that we are noise makers’ no! We want you to operate peacefully and respectfully as Zambians,” said Musukwa.

“So the most critical issue that we have is that we want to resolve this problem once and for all. The police are there to deal with those who do not follow the law but us we want when you are working, the police are not there at all. The police have a lot of work to do. Now because there is always confusion, that is why you always see the police around. So we want you through your leaders to maintain law and order. Any one who will be found in unlawful activities will be dealt with by government.”