CHIEF Mphuka of the Chikunda people in Luangwa has appealed to Government to consider re-opening the ‘abandoned’ Chakwenga Gold Mine in the district to address the high unemployment levels among the youths in Feira constituency.
The chief said re-opening of the mine should be looked at as an urgent solution to addressing the high unemployment levels in the district.
Chief Mphuka said poverty in the area has increased because priority has allegedly been given to wild animals instead of development projects that can improve people’s well-being.
The chief said it is sad that development projects like the mine are usually shunned in preference to wildlife conservation, leaving majority of the people in poverty.
He also said the same animals also end up feeding on the crops that people struggle to cultivate for their families.
Chief Mphuka said the Chakwenga mine project has stalled for a long time after the environmental impact assessment report ‘prioritised’ the welfare of animals over that of human beings.
He said Luangwa district, being a drought-prone area, needs investment that can cushion people’s lives through job creation.
In January 2014, Government gave a license to an Australian Bermuda-registered mining company, Mwembeshi Resources Limited under its parent Zambezi Resources Limited, to set up a gold mine in the district.
But an environmental impact assessment report recommended that no mine should be opened in a national park.
The Chakwenga Gold Mine was closed in 1948 before the area received national park status now called the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Zambia Daily Mail