Chief Mpunka of the Chikunda speaking people of Lunagwa district says minerals in Lower Zambezi National Park will deplete due to illegal mining.

And Luangwa Pastors Fellowship secretary Pastor Derrick Kashinamlunda says the Church stands with the people in the district on allowing mining in the national park.

Speaking to journalists at his palace, Chief Mpunka said he was heart broken by the way the minerals were being illegally exploited.

“Minerals in Lower Zambezi National Park will deplete due to illegal mining. Selfish individuals are benefiting from the illegal activities at the expense of Zambians. It is heart breaking with the way the minerals are being illegally exploited. We are planning to engage the Head of State during the House of Chiefs meeting so that he has rich information unlike the way he’s being misled,” Chief Mpunka said.

“Minerals are going because people are illegally mining like the way it was happening at the gold rush in Mwinulunga. These minerals are being sneaked out of our country and we are not benefiting. If President Lungu gives a go ahead, people in my area and in senior chief Mburuma’s area will benefit as they will be employed. The nation will be able to get meaningful revenue.”

Chief Mpuka said those claiming that there were no minerals in the area were not being sincere.

“It is unacceptable for some individuals to start spreading falsehoods, stating that the area has no minerals. We urge the President to ignore such falsehoods which are being peddled by unscrupulous individuals. We don’t know why these lodge owners want to tell lies. And the thing is when the mine operations start, more tourism will flourish,” said Chief Mpuka.

Meanwhile, Pastor Kashinamlunda said the church stood with the people of Luangwa on the issue of the mine.

“As Church here in Luangwa, we stand with the people here on the issue of the mine. We believe it will be able to improve the lives of the people. Our voice as a Church is the mine will benefit people in Luangwa and outside Luangwa. If I recall, there was a ruling of the Court and I believe government will be able to support the kick off of the mine,” said Pastor Kashinamlunda.