By Brian Mwale

Zambia’s Mines Minister Richard Musukwa has called on mining companies to support local businesses.

Musukwa says mining firms should engage local people, contractors and suppliers to be part of their economic equation.

Speaking during the presentation and signing of the grants financing agreement for Livelihood and income generation support under for three cooperatives, Musukwa said promoting safer jobs directly and indirectly by mining companies is key for communitie

The Minister said the financing, under the 65 point 5 million dollar Zambia Mining and Environmental Remediation and Improvement Project -ZMERIP- is key for environmental remediation in the mining sector.

He urged the three cooperatives whose business proposals have been approved to put the money to good use adding that government will closely monitor their operations for transparency and accountability purposes.

The three cooperatives have been given in excess of over 6-hundred thousand kwacha.

Musukwa however said only 40-percent of the monies have been released as start-up capital for the cooperatives, with the balance set to be disbursed in batches depending on their operations.

And Project Coordinator Gideon Ndalama said environmental remediations are being done in four affected districts namely Kabwe, Mufulira, Chingola and Kitwe.

Ndalama said beneficiaries of the funds are from areas that have been affected by environmental pollution.

And Dorcas Likasi, who is Chairperson of Alinase Multi purpose cooperative of Kabwe thanked government for the gesture being implemented through the Ministry of Mines.