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Parliament probes alleged gold mining

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

ON THE RISE — Unregulated mining

Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources is probing Crown Feeds over mining allegations reported to take place between Senzani and Phalula.

Crown Feeds rears chickens along the area.

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Reports indicate that the mining is being done at a site about 50 kilometres west of the M1 Road between Senzani and Phalula along Lisungwe River.

Natural Resources Committee of Parliament Chairperson Victor Musowa has confirmed that a delegation of his committee were sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources to ask if they are aware of what is happening.

“As a committee, we have sent our delegation to ask if Crown Feeds has licence for gold mining. And, as an oversight committee, we are planning to go and find out what is going on in the area,” Musowa said.

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He said, after the probe, the committee is expected to report the matter to Parliament which is scheduled for next week.

Crown Feeds Director Yaseen Kasmani said it is not true that the place in question has gold deposits.

“We are just building foundation for chicken kholas. There is no gold mining and there is no gold there. We have just cleared the land and started marking the foundation,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement released Friday, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Secretary Patrick Matanda dismissed reports on the illegal mining saying “the preliminary investigations have shown that it is a construction site for farm buildings and not a mining site”.

Matanda said some rocks and soil samples were collected for geochemical tests and the results do not indicate any traces of gold as alleged that the area is very rich in gold.

Malawi Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative National Coordinator George Harawa said, based on the initial assessment that has been made by a team of experts from the Department of Mines, there is no mining taking place.

“There is no mining equipment and there is no sign that any mining has taken place. It is a construction site. The place has been flattened for construction and this was corroborated by the communities,” Harawa said.

Senzani is within Kirk Range, a geological block which is considered a potential for various minerals including gold, rare earth and base metals among others.

Legally, geological and mining activities require exploration and mining licences offered by the Commissioner of Mines.

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