GOVERNMENT must quickly legalise illegal mining because it has become a danger to the country's economy, Emerald and Semi- Precious Mining Association of Zambia president Victor Kalesha has said.
Mr Kalesha in an interview yesterday, said illegal mining was naturally not good in a country because it makes Government lose out a lot of revenue.
He said the best government can do was to identify areas seriously affected by illegal mining and formalising such illegal activities into legal activities.
"Many times illegal mining is caused by lack of employment and sometimes unaffordable fees to be paid.
So it is prudent that the government move in quickly to address this matter by legalising the illegal mining because if left unchecked it will seriously choke the country's economy," he said.
He said it was prudent that Government find means of empowering the illegal miners into artisanal small scale miners.
"Government is doing everything possible obviously to better the lives of many Zambians but the demand is too high. The high unemployment levels has now cause rampant illegal mining so that they can earn a living.
So empowering the illegal miners by legalising the illegal activities will help us the country to earn more revenue and contribute to the economic growth of the country.
"What I can say is that currently as a country we are really losing out because we are not getting anything from this illegalities," he said.
Mr Kalesha said it was important that government encouraged illegal miners to form cooperatives so that they can go into full-fledged mining which would equally benefit them and the country as a whole.