FORMER ZCCM-IH chief executive officer Dr Pius Kasolo says no gold mine exists in Zambia because from available empirical evidence, only exploration and artisanal mining is taking place.
And Dr Kasolo says all political party presidents should stop talking about gold mining in Zambia because they don’t understand the true status of the activity in the country.
Meanwhile, Dr Kasolo says the Zesco-CEC impasse is just being escalated by social media, expressing confidence that the issue will be resolved by the parties involved.
Speaking when he featured on Diamond TV’s COSTA program, Sunday, Dr Kasolo said despite the country having potential, there was need for the country to be patient and evaluate whether it was economical to mine gold in Zambia.
“Chances are there [that deposits are enough for the country to go into large scale gold mining] but at the same time, I gave an example of the dairy farmer, that’s the thing, you have to wait, be patient, prospect, evaluate and make it economical to mine. You can’t rush and say we are going to mine, you are going to lose money. You haven’t found an ore body, at the moment they are prospecting. Costa, ask anybody, take me to a gold mine in Zambia, proper arranged gold mine, digging, processing, take me there. There is no gold mine, unless I live in another world but there is no gold mine in Zambia,” he said.
“Kansanshi gold, you have an associate of gold with copper mineralization. It’s a copper gold mine because there is quite a bit of gold that comes from there. However, at the moment, even ZCCM, what I get from them, they have invested in a prospecting car, that Karma deal, they are not mining gold, you are looking at prospecting. Karma had a licence, the boys from ZCCM-IH checks and says oh, they have got nice data. Coming to the dairy story, then they see the farmer now he’s got cows which are pregnant so instead of waiting for the cows to be pregnant, they will jump up and say let us buy into that guy who has got cows which are pregnant. There is no mining, I can challenge anybody, there is no mining, and there is no gold mine. We have got the small scale artisanal mines, people digging and panning.”
He said there was need for mining companies to be honest and ensure they pay their dividends.
“One time President [Robert] Mugabe said its better we leave the minerals in the ground for our children than you guys mine it and exploit us. The guys who come here, they come to invest in Zambia and make a profit, so they are making a profit and it’s just right for them to pay enough to Zambians, like they say in the bible, ‘give what is due to Caesar’, give Kingsley Chanda what he deserves, when you mine copper, give Kingsley Chanda what he deserves don’t lie that I didn’t make profit. We just have to be serious on that,” Dr Kasolo said.
And Kasolo asked politicians to stop discussing gold mining in Zambia if they did not understand the dynamics at play.
“To be honest with you Costa, like I said, there are so many speculations and that’s why at the beginning, I said let me just try to teach people a little bit about geology, occurrences and so on so that people can have an idea and when they are discussing, they can now relate to what I am saying. You have people, here Mr Munshya writes, tomorrow it’s president Hakainde, the other day its president Kambwili, everybody saying things. I think the best thing to do is like President Lungu says, ‘bika bola panshi (put the ball on the ground)’. So let’s put the ball on the ground,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the Zesco-CEC impasse, Dr Kasolo said he had faith that the ministry and the heads of the two companies would agree on a solution soon.
“CEC, it’s very complex or me to comment on. When I worked for ZCCM, CEC paid us dividends because we increased our shareholding to nearly 25 per cent of CEC. But like anything else in the world, there must be a solution to it and I am very sure Honorable Nkhuwa and Mr Mundende and Mr London Mwafulilwa, the chairman of CEC, they will work something out. Again, social media, they come out writing this and that but as far I am concerned, these are mature people. Mwafulilwa is a seasoned engineer, Silavwe is an excellent manager and going to Nkhuwa and Mundende, they can sit down and work it out I think it’s social media trying to blow the small thing so big. I think it will be resolved. That’s why there is peace in Zambia because whatever happens, it gets resolved,” said Dr Kasolo.