New mining activities - a mixed blessing for Luapula, Hope Mwelaisha, CSPR Luapula, MS Zambia Newsletter (May 2010):
Land degradation, deforestation, potential health related epidemics, raw material exhaustion, worn-down roads and losing out on an economic potential. This is the price that the people of Luapula are paying for the short term benefit of the mining boom in the province.
The last two years have seen an explosion of mining activities in Luapula. Genesis Procurement, who presently employs more than 200 locals in their large-scale mining for manganese, is the main actor on the new Luapula mining scene, but dozens of small-scale miners are also taking part in the search for the valuable mineral - manganese.
The Luapula Provincial Programme Management Team of the national Civil Society for Poverty Reduction has conducted a research on the effects of this mining activity, and the findings are both positive and negative. On the positive side, there are the new job opportunities created, either directly through the large scale mining operators, through individual small-scale mining or indirectly
through the following higher activities in shops, guesthouses and so on. This is providing an income for hundreds of families, and has undoubtedly reduced poverty in the district.
Also the activities in Luapula is re-enforcing the dependency of the Zambian national economy on mining, a dependency that has proved disastrous in the past. Finally, it must be said that the present operations duplicate a negative theme that as been recurrent throughout the history of Africa: The raw materials are being removed from the continent, with limited benefits to the people, and processed somewhere else in the world for the benefit of outsiders. For manganese, the price that local miners get for raw ore is US$ 52 to US$ 70 per tonne. The price for pure manganese on the international market US$ 1.653 per tonne. This value addition is what Zambia is losing out on, because the raw ore is transported through Tanzania to China for processing. So the super profits are reaped by foreign investors, in the same pattern that the European colonial powers used to follow.
Civil Society for Poverty Reduction acknowledges the short-term benefits that people in Luapula are enjoying from the mining, but urges the Zambian government to ensure that the economic boost is re-invested into sustainable economic growth and development activities in the province.
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Luapula Manganese, 3rd Edition
THEMES : manganese