Confusion has emerged over the Roan Basin mining license which legally belongs to Luanshya Copper Mines.
The roan basin is part of the Muliashi copper ore body and extends to the boundary of the Luanshya sports complex.
In 2010 Luanshya Copper Mines conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment EIA and informed The Zambia Environmental Management Agency ZEMA that the mine had planned to mine the ore body by 2025. The roan basin ore body is close to the surface making it vulnerable to illegal miners who have been digging the copper with mere shovels and picks.
But trouble broke out in January this year when ZEMA officials arrived to conduct an environmental impact assessment submitted by one Terrence Iain Findlay.
ZEMA failed to conduct the EIA after they discovered that the area was under license already and belonged to Luanshya Copper Mines.
A few days later,ZEMA informed Luanshya Copper Mines that there was someone who was intending to start mining in their licensed area. The mine then engaged ZEMA but they were referred to the Ministry of Mines who are responsible for issuing mining licenses.
Luanshya mine engaged the ministry of mines in order to understand how someone was awarded a license in their area. To their surprise no one was willing to accommodate them officially but a source from within the ministry told them that the license Mr Findlay has in not showing in their system.
“The license by Mr Findlay is not in our system, even our colleagues at Mine Cadastre are saying it is not showing so we don’t know “, said the source.
The source further advised the mine management to engage the Director of Mines Mr Fred Banda and also quickly secure the area.
The mine later wrote to both the Ministry of Mines and copied to ZEMA seeking explanation on how Mr Findlay was given a license on their land. To date the mine has not heard from both ZEMA and the ministry.
A month later the mine made follow up with the ministry of mines but were not given any feedback. The source from the ministry told the mine that it was discovered that Mr Findlay was working with a senior official from state house and a local politician from Luanshya and they are determined to commence mining in the area by the end of the year.
Upon hearing this Luanshya Mine immediately began clearing the land to begin mining. The lands in question shares its boundary with the Roan Antelope Sports Complex. A well calculated community concern was orchestrated which culminated to the Director of Mine Safety Mr. Lumamba visiting the site and halting the works. The minister of mines later issued a statement that Luanshya Copper Mines must first abide by the decision letter that was given to them by ZEMA when they submitted the EIA. But the PF are now annoyed with the minister because they wanted his statement to include the fact that the area was in dispute.
Luanshya Mine has planned to mine the roan pbasin ore body beginning 2025.