Child labour cases in small scale mines worry CTPD

By Staff Reporter

The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) has regretted the engagement of child labour in illegal mining activities in Chingola town on the Copperbelt Province.

This follows the incident which is evidenced from the video making rounds on social media depicting the gross illegality and poor oversight within the mining sector, especially artisanal and small scale mining, involving the use of children.

CTPD Policy Lead on Extractives Natalie Kaunda said that child safety and protection in the sector should be of paramount importance by both the law enforcers and players in the mining sector.

She called for measures to be put in place to ensure that children were safeguarded from the negative effects of mining activity.

Kaunda reinforced calls by mines minister Richard Musukwa for an inspection visit on the Copperbelt about reports of child labour.

She said mining areas, small scale and large, should be properly secured and monitored at all times to avoid abuse of children that could lead to death.

“After the incidence of juveniles who were buried alive in a Manganese mine in Samfya district in January of 2019, there is less that has been done in terms of providing effective controls and over sight to deter illegal miners from accessing mine sites, and this has made it easier for children to access these dangerous sites,” she explained.

Kaunda has further urged government to step up efforts in fighting poverty and youth unemployment as these are some of the push factors driving the rise in illicit and informal mining activities.

She said according to a recent report by the CSO, in 2017 alone, the percentage of unemployed population in rural areas was 38.6% and 61.4% in urban areas against a total number of 8,592 students that graduated from 7 selected institutions of higher education.