GEMSTONE and Allied Workers Union president Sifuniso Nyumbu says Zambia in 2017 lost US$7 billion due to illegal mining and sale of gemstones.
In an interview, Nyumbu said very little was being done to add value to Zambia’s gemstones by the government.
“Gemstones are quite expensive stones and by virtue of them being expensive, they are being exploited and exported illegally,” he said. “The illegal activities are dotted around all parts of the country and as of 2017, we were talking of about US$7 billion which was being lost through illegal mining and exports of gemstones.”
Nyumbu said the 2017 projection of $7 billion was just a fraction of what was actually being lost by the country through illegal mining and exports of gemstones.
“We have had people, both foreigners and Zambians, going to Lundazi and Mapatizya and settling there for about three weeks and buying the stones that they want and selling those stones outside the country,” he said.
Nyumbu also said the ZNS gemstone mine in Lufwanyama was not being exploited to its full potential by the government.
He said illegal mining in the sector had left a
damage in many areas as there was no Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) undertaken before mining.
“Zambia is still poor despite having vast mineral deposits…Zambia has the best emeralds and amethyst in the world but there is very little being done to realise revenue by government,” Nyumbu said.
He said sadly gemstone mines given to Zambians were not been fully exploited.