By Wezzie Gausi:
The Ministry of Mining has refuted allegations by the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change that the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) is buying gold from illegal miners in the country.
On Tuesday, chairperson for the committee Werani Chilenga told journalists that RBM was buying gold from illegal miners.
“As a committee, we understand that the gold that RBM is buying is coming from Namizana forest where illegal mining is very rampant. We need to revisit the whole process of RBM buying gold as we have been tipped that the gold is being bought from illegal miners,” Chilenga said.
However, Minister of Mining Albert Mbawala refuted the allegations during a press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday.
Mbawala said RBM was buying gold from registered groups across Malawi.
He suspected that the committee was not aware that his ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Trade, gave licences to groups across Malawi to venture into mining.
“There is no way the government can be buying gold from illegal miners. We are against the vice and that is why we gave licences to groups that showed interest in venturing into mining.
“So far, the groups are doing quite well. And, as a ministry, we will continue to act on all people doing illegal mining in this country as that is against the laws,” Mbawala said.
Meanwhile, the ministry has said RBM has so far used K9.4 billion to buy 187 kilogrammes of gold in the country.