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Ministry moves to curb illegal mining

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Ministry of Mining has said lack of mining experts in local councils is frustrating the fight against illegal mining activities.

The ministry said it plans to hire district mining officers who will among other things work as watchdogs against illegal mining in councils.

The concern comes a few weeks after the ministry released a report which indicated that over 100 communities in Tukombo in Nkhata Bay are mining gold without licenses.

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In a response to a written questionnaire, Ministry of Mining Public Relations Officer Andrew Mkonda Banda said the ministry will start filling up the vacancies in eight mineral hot spot districts of Mangochi, Machinga, Neno, Mzimba, Karonga, Balaka, Lilongwe and Ntcheu.

“We will start with mining spot districts before we go into all the councils. We believe by doing so, we are going to be serving people accordingly,” Banda said.

However, Natural Resources Justice Network (NRNJ) chairperson Kossam Munthali faulted the government for what he called lack of seriousness.

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Munthali said the ministry is good at coming up with ideas and policies but takes a long time to implement the same.

“This is the fourth time the ministry has assured us on the matter. We cannot always hear from them; things we know they are not going to implement any time soon. People in the districts start illegal mining because they do not have offices where they can find proper information on the minerals,” Munthali said.

Mining contributes less than 1 percent of Malawi’s national Gross Domestic Product.

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