Mzimba Gemstone Miners

Small-scale gemstone miners on Friday warn that the proposed new mining tax regime which includes a 15 percent export duty on precious metals will only exacerbate the problem of illegal trade concerning the country’s gemstones.

Mary Mphande-Lubemba, president of the Association of Zambia Women in Mining, said her executive paid a courtesy call to President Edgar Lungu.

“We appreciate the need to pay taxes and it is our obligations as citizens to do, but we also expect some considerations from the government,” she said.

The country, she said, was already losing millions of funds through illegal trade in gemstones, adding that the introduction of the new tax regime will just worsen the situation.

She said despite the small-scale mining of gemstones having potential to contribute to the economic development of the country, it was currently not doing so because of the numerous challenges being faced.

She tabulated the challenges as lack of proper equipment, lack of access to affordable financing as well as lack of a proper marketing system.

She appealed to the government to consider coming up with a central marketing system for the small-scale miners as part of efforts to curtail the black market trade.

On his part, the Zambian leader promised to sit down with officials from the mines ministry to consider the challenges faced by women small-scale miners.

Lungu said the women small-scale miners mostly operating in rural areas where a lot has been done in alleviating poverty among fellow women and youths through the provision of jobs.

The Zambian leader said the government was aware of the challenges being faced by the women small-scale miners but called for closer collaboration in order to find lasting solutions. Enditem

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