BY SAMUEL KALIMIRA:
The government, through the Ministry Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, has warned that it may take legal action against people who are conducting mining activities in protected forests across the country.
Forestry Department spokesperson, Sangwani Phiri, has cited Namizimu and Makanjira forest reserves as two of the most affected forests.
He said people are, among other activities, extracting precious stones from the forests without the knowledge of public officials.
The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining recently issued an ultimatum, giving those engaged in the business until Friday, July 20 2018 to stop their activities in protected areas.
“We are very serious with the evacuation exercise of illegal miners from protected forests. The grace period has expired and we are happy to see that some miners have moved out of the actually.
“What we are saying is that those who do not want to move out will face two things— legal action or forced evacuation. We managed to protect Dzalanyama, Mulanje Mountain and Viphya forests. Therefore, the miners cannot fail us,” Phiri said.
He said ministry officials have observed that some miners who relocated to locations surrounding the affected forests have started dismounting machines used for mining.
Phiri said it is sad that some miners were felling down trees while others were making ditches along river banks without regard to the Forestry Act.