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Local miners call for tough regulations

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By Wezzie Gausi:

Organising chairperson of daylong Small Scale Mining Conference held Wednesday in Lilongwe, Peter Jere, has asked the government to set tough regulations in the sector to boost the economy of the country.

He said the country is rich in minerals but continues to lose out as most licences to extract the natural resources were awarded to foreigners who allegedly default on tax.

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“The mining sector is very vast in the country and as of now, we could have been singing a new song in terms of the amount the sector is bringing to the country but we are challenged as most investors in the sector are not Malawians. They just come to rob the country of its resources.

“What is needed is to empower the small-scale miners who are Malawians on how best to do the mining, how to source markets and the right way to process the minerals,” Jere said.

Minister of Mining, Rashid Gaffar, warned dubious dealers who have been reaping the country of its resources that the law will eventually catch up with them.

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“This time we will make sure that the government is benefiting from each and every mining activity happening in the country. We are the biggest holders of the industry, hence we need people to run this business in the right manner,” Gaffar said.

Recently, the government through the Ministry of Mining said they are ready to revoke licenses from the people and companies who have not used them since they were issued.

According to the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy, there are several problems affecting Malawi’s artisanal mining sector like limited awareness on the laws and procedures for licensing, no established markets for mineral commodities in Malawi and limited access to financial capital for technological investments for enhanced productivity.

Gross Domestic Product from mining in Malawi averaged K8.7 billion from 2002 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of K12.5 billion in 2019 and a record low of K 1.69 billion in 2002.

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