Government in collaboration with the mining affairs board is working on modalities to protect the small scale miners from investors who apply for exclusive prospecting orders which could encroach in areas where artisanal miners are operating from.

While some foreign and local investors have expressed interest to apply for exclusive prospecting orders (EPOS) covering vast land including where small scale miners are operating, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Honourable Winston Chitando has tasked the mining affairs board to look into the issue and come up with a win-win situation for the small scale miners who expressed concern over the latest development.

“We have been approached by investors who wish to apply for exclusive prospecting orders, so as government we also got the input of artisanal miners who fear they might be dislodged from their operating space. It is against this background that I have mandated the mining affairs board to look into the issue and come out with a position which protect our artisanal miners,” said Minister Chitando.

He also assured small scale miners that the new dispensation rely on them as the biggest producers of gold hence they will be given the protection they deserve when the EPOS are issued.

“As you know the small scale miners are now the biggest producers of gold so there is no way government will abandon them,” Minister Chitando added.

Gold production hit 33 tonnes last year breaking the previous record of 27 tonnes in the 90s, with Honourable Chitando expressing confidence that the $12 billion mark in gold exports is achievable by the vision 2030.