MINEWORKERS Union of Zambia says local participation in the mining sector through local ownership will help stabilise the exchange rate because there will be no externalisation of funds.

And MUZ General Secretary George Mumba says the union intends to set up a mine to prove that Zambians have the requisite skills needed for such an undertaking.

Last month, MUZ announced its intention to set up and operate a mine either in North Western, Central or Luapula Provinces in order to create sustainable jobs for Zambians and help in the exploitation of minerals.

In an interview, Mumba said local ownership would ensure that the revenue that was generated was deposited in Zambian local banks, which would in turn even help to stabilise foreign exchange rates.

“Yes, it will help because obviously us we are locally domiciled. So meaning all what we do, will benefit mostly the local. Even the revenue that is generated will have to be deposited in our local banks which will help to even stabilize foreign exchange because we will create foreign exchange which will be domiciled here. So overall you will find that it will have a great impact on the economic situation for Zambia. Because when you look at these mines, what we have seen is that their accounts are not domiciled here, the only monies they will channel here are the monies when as, and when you need them to be used. Say coming month-end, that’s when they will send the money for payroll. If there is any procurement they need to do that’s when they will request then they will fund,” he said.

“And that is why it has been very difficult even to audit most of these [mines]. When we are crying about this failure to do a thorough audit on most of the mines, [it is] because some of their account transactions are done offshore. So this money flight has been very difficult to curb because their accounts are domiciled across the world, not in Zambia. So as a result here when you want to audit you will find that some of the data you want, it is very difficult to have it.”

Mumba said that the union had decided to set up a mine because the country boasts of long participation in mining but without local participation.

“Local participation is what is being encouraged. If you look in Zambia, we are boasting that we have got many years of mining but when you point to anything local in terms of that mining, you will find that there is nothing. We have produced, remember the Copperbelt University which was then called ZITS. Zambia Institute of Technical Studies was specifically developed to create skills mostly for the mining sector because of the endowment that we are privileged to have had but when you look around, there is none of those investments that you can point around that no this indigenous mine is by the locals. That is why we thought, having been on the scene representing, I think it is high time we participated so that we also help in job creation. So that even when we are talking or we are bargaining for this welfare, we already know what really is involved,” said Mumba.