The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has said some bottlenecks rocking the mining sector will be eradicated through the Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment Project (Gemmap) which was officially launched in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
The project aims at acquiring up-to-date geo-scientific data to be used to promote and maximise the mining sector’s contribution to the country’s socio-economic development.
Minister responsible Bright Msaka who officially launched the project said the externalisation of minerals on the pretext that they should used as samples abroad will be curbed because laboratories will be established in the country for the testing of the samples.
He said the project, which is being implemented with the grant assistance from the French government, is also going to update information on minerals and mapping.
“There are two types of externalising minerals which I am talking about. We have the issue of some people externalising minerals on the pretext that they are taking them for sampling abroad. Under the project, funds are available for laboratories which will be established right here.
“We are also going to buy equipment which will be used to detect precious stones in exit points so that anyone trying to externalise them is caught,” said Msaka.
And French Ambassador to Malawi and Zimbabwe Laurent Delahousee says Malawi has the potential of boosting its mining sector through the Gemmap project.
Delahousee, however, cautions that proper measures must be put in place so that the extractive industry is sustainable for future generations.
“The mining industry obviously has a lot to offer for Malawi just like it is doing in many countries. But it must happen within principles of sustainability and the communities must be involved and protect the environment for future mining activities,” said Delahousee.
Some components of the project include geological mapping of the whole country at various scales; mineral resources potential mapping; natural risk mapping and improvement of geological Survey laboratory capacity.