IT is evident that despite the high entrepreneurial spirit among youths, they lack the skills and business know-how of running an enterprise.
This has contributed to the current high level of youth unemployment in Zambia which government is currently battling with its economies anguishes.
In an effort to find means of survival, the youths and other local entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the available opportunities such as the famous Black Mountain on the Copperbelt to make ends meet.
The Black Mountain used to be a dumpsite for the waste molten by-product after copper smelting.
From the time the mines opened in the 1930s up to 1988, there was no extraction of cobalt, hence the mountain is heavily rich in cobalt.
The majority of the artisanal miners are being buried by the slag because they are digging deeper where there is cobalt which was dumped over a period of 50 years.
This site has actually been a source of wealth for many big shots in this country. The cobalt reserves there can last for another 30 years.
It is because of this that many investors, both local and foreign have over the years expressed interest in putting up an investment at the Mountain.
Some investors however who have attempted to put up an investment at the Black mountain have had clashes with local small scale miners known as ‘Jerabos.’
Rudra Copper Limited, a company on the Copperbelt in Chingola, is the latest investor set to invest US$41 million in the processing of copper from the slag commonly known as the ‘Black Mountain’ into Copper and cobalt.
The company intends to establish a fully integrated copper industry with little or no waste as the by product will be transformed into pavers and other construction related materials.
The company has so far invested over US$10 million whilst the remaining US$31 million will be invested over a period of three years.
This is indeed a positive move which we believe will boost income for the local small scale miners known as ‘Jerabos.’
We say so because the company has indicated that it will be sourcing the slag from mining companies across the country as well the ‘Jerabos.’
This investment will create ready market for the small scaleminers whilst maintaining steady flow of copper concentrate to the mining companies.
The company has employed 50 Zambians in the initial phase and is looking to employ over 200 people in the next six months when it becomes fully operational.
Some of the people employed are ex-miners as the company looks to transfer skills and technology to locals.
It is imperative that the company prioritises local business development through local partnerships, business linkages and domesticated supply chain systems to further augment their local job creation strategies.
The youth’s key concerns of unemployment together with disappointing levels of entrepreneurship, is a wake-up call for government and the private sector to expedite efforts to generate more job opportunities.
Most of the people found at the Black mountain are in their youthful stage trying to make ends meet.
It is through interventions and investments such as that which has been set up by Rudra Copper Limited, which will provide youth employment and skills transfer.
There is need for practical investment in youth development. They need to be kept occupied and busy instead of using them as political weapons.