The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) has called on government to improve regulation of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in Zambia and formalize it to limit its rapid spread.

Government has acknowledged the prevalence of illegal gold mining in the country, as evidenced by the challenges still being faced in quantifying the exact amount of gold produced in the country due to huge numbers of illegal gold miners scattered across the country.

“Being cognizant of the fact that illegal mining cannot be completely eliminated, the CTPD wishes to urge government to undertake some of the following strategic steps to limit its expansion: (i) Undertake social control by creating alternative employment opportunities; (ii) Strengthen regional bureaus with the needed expertise so as to elevate their supervisory role; (iii) Provide platforms making it easy for miners to form cooperatives; (iv) Formalize, monitor and regulate the artisanal and small scale mining sector; (v) Establish a task force to crack down illegal mining activities; (vi) Dialogue with mining companies to establish satellite based surveillance systems to monitor illegal mining within their mining license areas,” CTPD researcher for the extractive sector Webby Banda stated in a press release, Thursday.

He stated that illegal mining was robbing the country of the required revenue.

“Fuelled by the rapid increase of global prices of mineral commodities, illegal mining has recently come into light as a major environmental and social concern. Illegal mining is carried out without state permission and it is because of this reason that unscrupulous firms operating in mineral rich areas do not pay taxes. This robs the country of the much desired revenue thus undermining economic growth. Poor regulation of the artisanal and small scale mining sector can also be seen as a reason that continues to birth illegal mining activities. Formalization of this sector will at least help limit the spread of illegal mining,” stated Banda.