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Malawi CSOs scary to mining investors

malungaStakeholders in the mining sector have urged civil society organisations (CSOs) to be gentle when handling mining issues as their aggressive approaches have been scaring away potential investors.

The calls were made in Lilongwe during a 2nd Mining Conference which also attracted representatives of various communities with mining projects. It was organised by Tilitonse, Action Aid, Oxfam and Citizens for Justice.

Speaking at the forum, newly established Chamber of Mines and Energy interim coordinator, Grain Malunga, said some prospective mining investors have changed minds of coming to Malawi because of the militant approach of some CSOs towards mining companies.

“The CSOs might not know but some of their approaches create a hostile environment and scare away investors,” said Malunga.

Action Aid country director, Martha Khonje said most of the issues the CSOs present come from the people around mining sites and should be understood as the voice of the people.

“We don’t just speak. We work with people living in the areas where mining takes place and it is the people themselves who raise the issues through us as CSOs or NGOs,” said Khonje.

Action Aid is one of the NGOs that have been in the forefront in fighting mining companies through researches that have exposed “malpractices” by the companies, with several reports to its credit on Paladin Africa’s Kayerekera Mine in Karonga.

During the conference, stakeholders – among various things, urged government to hasten the enactment of the new Mining Law whose bill is yet to be tabled in parliament.

Norwegian Church Aid country representative, Stein Villumstad, said one of the first things Malawi has to look at is the legal environment, saying it is important for Malawi to come up with policies and regulations that strengthens the mining sector.

On his part, commissioner for mines and minerals, Charles Kaphwiyo, said the draft copy of the new mining law is now in the hands of the Ministry of Justice from where it would go to cabinet.

“We did extensive consultations that involved all stakeholders and the draft was made. I’ve just submitted it to the Ministry of Justice,” he said.

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