More than 800 mining licences will be issued this year due to constant growth in the Zambian economy and the surging mineral prices, the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development has said. As at September 5, 2011, the ministry had granted 1,387 small and large scale mining licences.
In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, director of mines Billy Chewe said an increase in the number of mining licenses was a result of the good economic policies. Mr Chewe said the attractive copper prices had also contributed to the growth in the mining activities in the country.
He said the growth in the number of licenses were expected to push up the mining activities and that a total of 800 mining licenses were currently being considered. Mr Chewe said about 55 mining licences were issued out for large scale mining operations.
He said with regard to the period under review, the Government granted 552 prospecting large scale licenses which would enable the investor’s carryout exploration works. “All these figures cover the period up to September 5, 2011 and we currently have between 800 and 900 mining application pending to be processed,” he said.
Mr Chewe said two mineral processing licenses were issued and 197 small scale gemstone mining licenses were also granted for mining activities. He said because of more investment in the mining industry, the Government had given out 48 artisans mining rights which give the right to local people to mine on an artisanal basis in an area not exceeding five hectares, for a period of two years non-renewable.
Mr Chewe said for large scale gemstone, nine licenses were issued which allows the holders to carry out mining operations over an area, not exceeding 400 hectares for a period of not more than 10 years. He said in effort to empower the local people, the ministry had given out approximately 320 small scale mining licenses and this relate to areas not exceeding 400 hectares and have a duration of 10 years renewable.
For small scale prospecting licenses about 204 were granted as at September 5, 2011 but Mr Chewe said the Government would continue to cancel licenses that fail to comply with the mines and minerals act. “I cannot give you the exact figures of how many licenses we have canceled so far but it is a good number of them and you must understand that a good number of them are being considered for renewal while at the same time others are expired,” Mr Chewe