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Malawi government needs new mining strategy

The Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod in the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) has said the mining sector in the country will remain in shambles unless government adopted a vibrant strategy to govern the sector.

Speaking to The Daily Times on Wednesday, Church and Society Project Coordinator, Paul Mvula said on Wednesday in Rumphi that before a country embarks on a mining exercise, it needs to develop a right strategy which Malawi does not have.

“Issuing licences to investors to start conducting mining activities in our districts without proper mining strategy will make government unable to manage and monitor the benefits and implications of the activities to ordinary people.

“The strategy will be like a guideline comprising a timeframe and legal framework on how companies can perform their mining activities in the country so that a local villager living around the mining area also benefits from the activities, otherwise it is only companies that benefit,” Mvula added.

He cited oil exploration in Lake Malawi as a matter that needs proper strategy especially considering that people living along the lake survive on fishing activities.

“Government should start with about two blocks and see how the exercise will be managed, unlike starting with the whole lake,” he added.

He further called for a speedy tabling of Access to Information Bill (ATI) saying that would also open windows of development to locals.

Mvula said the mining industry is one of those areas in which access to information is highly restrictive and therefore the ATI law will enable communities where mining activities take place to be able to take authorities to task especially where they suspect foul play in their operations.

“People are forced to leave places where investors want to start their mining activities without proper procedures. They are compensated considering the assessment reports which are not made accessible to individuals themselves. People do not even know the formula they use to assess their possessions,” said Mvula.

Meanwhile, people of Jalawe have teamed up to pressure government to speed up the mining review process which started in 2007.

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