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Network laments mining sector woes

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Kossam Munthali

By Wezzie Gausi:

The Natural Resources Justice Network has said Malawi’s mining sector remained non beneficial in 2021 despite having a legal framework and other interventions for a possible boost.

The network’s chairperson Kossam Munthali said 2021 will only be remembered as the year President Lazarus Chakwera reiterated government’s commitment to boost the sector.

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Munthali said for instance, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) started buying gold from miners but the institution has not been transparent enough to tell the public the price and where are they selling the gold after buying from locals.

“People have been demanding to see how the resources were being used but we are yet to get real answers from the council on the same,” Munthali said.

Natural Resources Committee of Parliament Chairperson Werani Chilenga said the year 2021 has been worse.

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Chilenga said the country is losing K20 million a day through illegal mining that is rampant in the country.

“Parliament passed the Mine and Minerals Act in 2019 but the Ministry of Mining is failing to implement it. All we are getting from them is that we will have the Mining Council when they are failing to regulate the sector.

“We are even worried with the legalisation of RBM to be buying gold. They say they are buying gold from cooperatives but the Act does not allow that. In essence what is happening is the bank is fueling illegal mining in the country,” Chilenga said.

Meanwhile, Chilenga, has said the government should devise a plan of flushing out all illegal miners in the country if 2022 were to be beneficial in terms of mining.

On May 2 this year, Chakwera said, despite Malawi being a mineral rich country, what has lacked for decades is the patriotism, leadership, discipline, organisation and collaboration to blend the natural resources buried under the country’s soil with human resources to create the developmental riches that would last and serve generations.

He said Malawi has more untapped minerals under its soil than meets the eye, adding that although the country’s pursuit of agro-based economic activities would continue, Malawi would also pursue mining.

“I am therefore determined to kick-start that process by using mining as a catalyst for restructuring the economy. Mind you, I am not talking about spending the proceeds from mining on consumption, as if the minerals in our land belong to our generation alone.

“What I am talking about is converting our mineral capital into development capital that benefits all Malawians for generations to come. What I am talking about is leveraging mining to reduce Malawi’s vulnerability to external shocks and to raise the living standards of our people,” Chakwera said.

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