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Malawi government unveils new minerals data

The Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka has challenged the private sector to do follow-up exploration studies of the “exciting” mineral traces that were discovered through the recent geophysical study.

Results of the nine-month study were launched in Lilongwe Thursday which confirmed that the country has traces of platinum, gold, diamond, iron ore, uranium, copper, coal, oil, gas, gem stones, heavy mineral sand, rare earth mineral deposits, among others.

“My ministry is now in custody of this vital data ready to be accessed and used by interested individuals and companies. And having personally reviewed the preliminary data, I have no doubt that the data we are launching today will greatly enhance the mining profile of this country,” said Msaka.

He said the full mineral potential of this country was earlier poorly understood and the lack of background geological information to assist in selecting areas for exploration has hindered meaningful mineral exploration.

The countrywide high resolution airborne geophysical survey was funded by the World Bank and European Union as a component under Mining Governance and Growth Support Project and was executed by a Canadian company, Sanders Geophysics Limited.

A presentation made at the launch shows that, among others, the new data shows more deposits than known in some sites which were not explored and some new sites were discovered.

“At this stage, clients can acquire data to conduct their own interpretation and ground follow-ups based on their areas of interest. However, the Geological Survey Department intends to interpret and conduct ground follow-up for the whole data set,” said a presentation at the launch.

The World Bank Country Manager Laura Kullenberg urged the government to be more transparent in handling the mineral resources to benefit the citizens.

She said the new discovery should mean development of the country if there is transparency and accountability of the resources with proper use of proceeds and responsible awarding of mining licences.

The event was attended by mining companies’ representatives and representatives of the civil society among others where they heard about new mining opportunities in districts like Salima, Phalombe, Kasungu, Karonga, Dedza, among many others.

According to the Minister, government will bring to Parliament a bill for the new Mining Act which will among others compel release of mining agreement contents to the public.

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