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Government to revoke mining licences from idle firms

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The government will start revoking mining licences from companies that have stayed idle for five years or more, Minister of Mining, Rashid Gaffar, has said.

Gafar said this at the weekend when he toured Songwe Hill in Phalombe District where Mkango Resources Limited is conducting exploration works for mining of rare earth metals.

He said the government wants the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product grow from the current one percent to 30 percent.

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Gaffar added that Malawians have waited for a long time before they could benefit from the mineral resources the country is endowed with.

“We know there are people that would buy a site endowed with mineral resources, leave it idle and be selling it when Malawians are not benefiting from such. I cannot disclose the cut-off point but we are reviewing all licences and those that have been idle for so long, we will revoke their licences,” Gaffar said.

He, however, expressed satisfaction with progress on mineral exploration at Songwe Hill.

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Mkango Resources Limited Country Manager, Burton Kachinjika, said the company is likely going to start mining by December 2020.

He said there is need to construct a road to the site to ease mobility for heavy-goods trucks and transmission of high voltage electricity for production to commence.

“Exploration works are going on fine, we did a second assessment of the mineral deposits in 2018 and it showed that the deposits are 60 percent more than what we anticipated from the initial assessment.

“We want to set up a factory right here. However we need support from the government for stronger roads and electricity supply,” Kachinjika said.

The mining sector has been earmarked as one of the industries that have the potential to transform the country’s economy for the better.

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