Goverment has obtained a loan worth US$12 million from African Caribbean Pacific and the European Union (ACP- EU) countries to support growth of small-scale miners in the gemstone sector.
Ministry of Mines permanent secretary Paul Chanda told captains of the industry at a business seminar taking place on the side-lines of the 53rd Zambia International Trade Fair in Ndola yesterday that the funding is available and only awaits Governments finalisation of modalities for disbursements.
“ACP- EU countries have provided US$12 million and we have been told that this money can be doubled to US$24 million because it has been guaranteed. And as Zambia we have to get this money to our people, it’s not free money but a loan.
“Our responsibility as a ministry is to find credible institutions to give out the loans and we will suggest three financial institutions that will agree with our conditions,” he said.
Mr. Chanda said this in a presentation dubbed Promotion and exploitation of industrial minerals.
He said the gemstone industry which has been a key focus area for Government will help transform the economy.
Mr. Chanda said currently Government is working out ways to identify suitable financial institutions that would give out the money to the beneficiaries.
He urged small scale miners to present viable proposals to enable them to access the funding saying there is need for participation of Zambians for Government to see the value of sand and stone.
He said under the Seventh National Development Plan, mining is recognised as one sector driving the diversification agenda and to promote this, Government will focus on promoting, exploiting gemstone and industrial minerals through access to finance and promote value addition.