Luapula Province in Zambia has attracted the attention of Asian investors interested in mining sugilite, a precious gemstone discovered in June this year.

An illegal mining operation associated with suspected sugilite ore resulted in the arrest of 20 individuals in a significant operation conducted by police in Mansa on October 3, 2023. The operation led to the confiscation of 60 tonnes of sugilite and the seizure of multiple vehicles. A complex network of illegal mining activities came to light, involving the use of an excavator to extract the valuable mineral.

The police intercepted a convoy transporting suspected sugilite mineral ore. This operation resulted in the arrest of several individuals and the impoundment of vehicles and equipment associated with the illegal operation.

While Minister of Mines, Paul Kubuswe, initially revealed the presence of sugilite in Luapula, the promised updates on the mineral's exploration and management have not yet materialized.

A recent court order lifted restrictions on Bayan Construction Limited, the company that discovered sugilite, triggering illegal mining activities. The company originally found sugilite during a large-scale mining exploration in Chembe, leading to the government's suspension of its license, which subsequently fueled illegal mining.

Environmental activist Nsama Musonda Kearns expressed concerns about the safety of confiscated sugilite ore while in police custody. She called for the Ministryof Mines to expedite the process of gazetting sugilite as a mineral andencouraged the ministry to educate locals on recognizing Sugilite and provideguidance on proper disposal methods for the confiscated material.

Kearns emphasised the necessity of legal and organizedmining to benefit both the community and the nation as a whole. She suggestedthe establishment of Community Mining Resource Boards to facilitate responsiblemining and community development.

Livingstone Mayor Urges Caution at Victoria Falls Following Tragic Drowning

Livingstone Mayor Constance Nalishebo Muleabai has issued a heartfelt plea for caution to those who frequent the Zambezi River frontages and the Boiling Point area at the Victoria Falls World Heritage Site, in the aftermath of a tragic incident.

Lastone Kazwele, a 23-year-old resident of Morelight Township, lost his life while swimming at Victoria Falls' Boiling Point. He was swept away by a powerful current while taking selfies with his friends.

The mayor confirmed that this unfortunate incident transpired between noon and 13 hours on a Sunday. Local divers successfully recovered Kazwele's body on 10th October, 2023.

Despite the prominent presence of a "do not swim" warning sign at the Boiling Point, it remains disheartening that many residents continue to disregard this vital safety advice.