President Lazarus Chakwera has vowed to jealously guard the world’s largest rutile deposit which was discovered at Kasiya in Lilongwe.
Chakwera was speaking at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on his return from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he attended the 42nd Ordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government.
In April this year, Australian mining firm Sovereign Metals and Mining, currently exploring minerals at Kasiya, announced that an updated mineral resource estimate had revealed the world’s largest rutile deposit at 1.8 billion tonnes.
The estimate also revealed the second largest graphite deposit.
Mining governance experts and economists believe the rutile deposit has the potential to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
Chakwera said Malawi needs to put its house in order and have proper legislation that makes sure that Malawians benefit more than anybody else.
“If there is trading, we need to do it in a fair manner for everyone to feel the benefits of these treasures,” Chakwera said.
The President added that the extractive industry, if well harnessed, would help expedite the development of the Sadc region.
He said the industry would help Sadc member states to build the type of roads, schools and hospitals they want.
Chakwera underscored the need for the Sadc region to have uniform legislation regarding the extractive industry so that no country is used to defraud another.
Recently, the Ministry of Mining told The Daily Times that Malawians should expect real mining activities at the multimillion-dollar rutile mine to commence during the 2025/- 26 financial year.
Principal Secretary for Mining Joseph Mkandawire said Capital Hill expects the mining firm, Sovereign Metals, to start construction at the mine in 2024, all things being equal.
Mkandawire said the mining activities at Kasiya Rutile Project site will significantly contribute to the country’s economy through generation of government revenue in form of taxes and other fees.
“You may wish to know that these mining companies join the sector with full understanding that there will be equitable benefit sharing between government (on behalf of the people of Malawi) and the company.
“In Malawi’s mineral sector, this benefit sharing is guided by several existing laws that ensure mutual benefits from such projects,” Mkandawire said.
He added that some of the tools used to capture revenue in Malawi’s existing legislation from such projects are well structured in the fiscal regime as stipulated in the Mines and Minerals Act, the Taxation Act and other relevant laws.
Sovereign’s Managing Director Julian Stephens recently said it was a remarkable achievement by the firm’s team to have made the largest natural rutile discovery ever in just two years since initial identification.
The Ministry of Mining granted an exploration licence to Sovereign Metals and Mining to explore for graphite in Kasiya in 2017.