Government demands speed in mining
The Ministry of Mining has asked players in the industry to execute their operations with speed and stop hiding behind the notion that the mining cycle is long.
Secretary for Mining Joseph Mkandawire was speaking in Lilongwe on Friday during an annual mining forum.
According to Mkandawire, time has come for mining firms to start doing some operations concurrently, saying it is the wish of Capital Hill to see mining exploration projects graduating into actual mining projects.
“We want to see, in the next one to two years, mines graduating from exploration to mining. We should not hide behind the notion that the mining cycle is long.
“Some of these are occasioned by our inefficiencies to the extent where we reach to a point where we apply for retention of licences. From now on, such applications will be looked with other lenses and with careful scrutiny before grant,” Mkandawire said.
He added that government has identified 11 quick-win projects in mining and has established both the energy and transport infrastructure needs for each of the mining companies to accelerate and remove infrastructure impediments.
Mining Minister Rashid Gaffar asked firms doing mining exploration in the country to be transparent in their dealings.
He said, when necessary, the mining firms should engage public relations officers for ease of reach and communication.
Gaffar also appealed to civil society players in the mining industry to conduct evidence-based advocacy and refrain commenting on speculation.
“My ministry is ready to partner individuals and institutions that want this country to develop through the mining sector using sustainable principles. It is the wish of my ministry to see to it that partnerships are built on mutual trust and respect. It does not help your country to look at it with a negative eye.
“Let us look at the mineral sector with hope and anticipation and we should avoid failing into the trap of moral capture because of poverty and derailing progress being made in the mineral sector to support industrialisation and infrastructure development,” Gaffar said.
Malawi has identified mining as one of the key areas to drive the industrialisation agenda in its long-term development vision, the Malawi 2063.
Chamber of Mines Coordinator Grain Malunga said the mining forum provides a platform through which mining firms provided updates to government and communities on stages of their operations.
Malunga justified the relatively longer time taken by mining firms to do the exploration, saying the miners enter the industry at a very lower level where they have to start from scratch, which is time consuming.