The Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development (‘MMMD’) yesterday unveiled brand new modernised European Union-funded laboratory equipment to help monitor mineral production from Zambia.

The equipment purchase is just one component of the €4,69 million Mineral Production Monitoring Support Project (‘MPMSP’) which aims to help the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development fulfil its mandate as mining authority, to monitor effectively mining activities and mineral production so as to increase domestic revenues. The project is fully funded by the European Union.

Speaking at the unveiling of the state of the art equipment at the Geological Survey Department laboratories, head of cooperation at the EU Zambia Delegation Mr Gianluca Azzoni said the unveiling of the laboratory equipment is a response to concrete needs and challenges Zambia has faced in monitoring mineral production.

“Despite the importance of GSD for the monitoring of mineral production and valuation of certificates for the issuing of export permits, the laboratory was in a very poor state, with almost all the equipment outdated and not operational at all. Now the MMMD will be able to test mineral samples and measure metal content, so as to reveal possible discrepancies between samples and actual exported minerals.”

“The EU has also supported the development of a digital reporting system for the mines which has smoothed the collection and reporting of mineral production data at the Department of Mines and Minerals Development,” he added.

Also speaking at the event, Permanent Secretary Mr Paul Chanda said the donation of the laboratory equipment will help the MMMD fulfill its mandate by not only providing accurate analyses of mineral samples, but also by facilitating transparency at every step of the mineral value chain.

He said the unveiling of the laboratory equipment is one of the many milestones the mineral production monitoring support project has reached since its inception in 2015.

“In September 2016, the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development started issuing all mineral trading permits and import permits online, making a full transition from a paper-based system to electronic processing, covering the entire revenue base, and thereby also improving the auditing trail.”

Senior Gemologist Michelle Naambo demonstrates using the new mineral production monitoring equipment after the unveiling at Geological Survey Department on the 5th October

He also said the project has designed a new reporting format, which is identified in the mining regulations as ‘Form 34’ to ensure that mining companies report all their products.

“Mining companies were obliged to use this format as of 1st January 2016. In this vein, the Mineral Production Monitoring Support Project experts have also collaborated with the experts from the Mineral Value Chain Monitoring Project (‘MVCMP’) under the Zambian Revenue Authority in order to ensure that mines companies report according to new mining regulations, and Form 34 in particular.”

Among the equipment donated were six handheld XRF Analysers, which can analyse metals like cobalt, copper and gold in rock or powder form without sample preparation; a Muffle Furnace, which is used to heat samples and separate metals such as gold; and a UV Spectrophotometer, which can analyse a wide range of solutions containing metal ions and organic compounds.

Senior gemmologist Michelle Naambo and senior technician chemist Gift Mwaula were on hand to demonstrate to the delegates and members of the press how the new equipment works. – (Lusaka Times)

Image credit: Lusaka Times

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