Zambia launches gold, gem strategy

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Windhoek - The Zambian government has embarked on an export diversification strategy that seeks to boost the contribution of gold and gemstone mining to the national economy.

The strategy – developed with the COMESA Regional Integration Capacity Project and other partners - will guide formalisation of the sector and stop illegal trading of commodities in country where a significant proportion of mining is undertaken by unregistered artisanal and small-scale miners.

Gold processing plants will be set up, along with gold trading centres that will also provide equipment and technical services.

Mines and Minerals Minister Richard Musukwa this week said the diversification strategy would curb illegal mining, trading and smuggling.

"Gold and gemstone mining in Zambia have been characterised by the informal artisanal and small scale mining and trading activities resulting in huge losses to the government revenue, environmental degradation, influx of foreign nationals, lack of tangible wealth creation and no impact on poverty reduction," Minister Musukwa said.

The Zambian government has declared gold a strategic mineral, hence the increased state participation in the sector.

At the diversification strategy launch, COMESA Assistant Secretary-General Kipyego Cheluget said formalisation of and support for mining would feed into better cross-border commerce as promoted by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Zambia's Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Christopher Yaluma said the strategy provided strategic interventions for structured and holistic economic development.

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