THE Government has said it cannot legalise the mining of emerald by small scale miners on restricted dumpsites in Lufwanyama District.
The Emeralds and Semi-precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) called for the Government and mines to formalise emerald mining on restricted dumpsites to curb illegal mining in the area.
Mines and Mineral Development Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda, however, said that the Government could not allow small scale miners to mine emeralds on dumpsite.
The association expressed concern to the increasing number of illegal mining in restricted dumpsite areas in the district.
But Mr Chanda said dumpsites were part of the licensed mining areas which could be used for production in future.
He said unlicensed small scale emerald miners could not meet the conditions for mining emerald on dumpsites as it required capital, proper machinery, care of the environment and safety compliance.
"We cannot allow anyone to intrude and mine emerald on dumpsites, these are licensed areas which could be used by the mines in future.
"The mining of emerald on dumpsites could pose a health hazard to miners and the environment," he said.
He said Government would only allow the mining of the stone on dumpsites once they were decommissioned by the licensed companies.