Government Needs To Open Kitwe Black Mountain (Slag dumps) – Umondi.
Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and the lack of alternative livelihoods have forced many young people to engage in hazardous illegal mining activities, says Fr Elias Umondi.
And Fr Umondi, who is the coordinator of the African Forum for Catholic Social Teachings (AFCAST), said local people must benefit from the Nkana slagheap in Kitwe popularly known as the Black Mountain.
Speaking during a validation meeting of the research on impact of small-scale mining on families, Fr Umondi said people were jobless and desperate for survival.
“Our research has concluded that these areas (slag dumps) need to be legalized so that people can benefit,” Fr Umondi said in his presentation.
He, however, said it was unfortunate that the government sided with investors rather than the local people because of money.
Fr Umondi said majority youths were flocking to the informal mining sector because of poverty, lack of employment and other forms of empowerment.
“The mining communities with slag dumps need to identify their areas of marginalization. They should be registered so that they can work legally. African riches should be exploited and enjoyed by Africans, which is a common good for society according to the Catholic teachings,” he said.
And Copperbelt University Economics Association research assistant Mwansa Chalo said people had not benefitted from the Black Mountain.
“According to our research, we feel a lot of people need to see the benefits of the slag dump. Most of the youths are just using the money gained to drink beer. There should be a way that will ensure that people fully get the benefits,” said Chalo.