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Political will needed on mining

Malawi’s mineral resources have massive value but it’s so apparent that the proceeds may not reach the surrounding communities especially if the people are not empowered and do not ask the right questions.

Instead, it’s the elite and mining companies, foreign-owned, that will stand to benefit more and therefore, it’s not surprising that communities are suspicious and not being cooperative.

Lilongwe’s Maligunde issue is a case in point. Communities in the area are cooperating with Sovereign Metals Mining Company, which is conducting a feasibility study for its graphite project in the area.

The communities are not comfortable with government and Sovereign Metals which is affecting the ongoing feasibility study.

The wrangle has attracted Norwegian Church Aid who this week moved in to help the communities. They have started empowering the communities so that they are able to ask the right questions and understand what they stand to benefit from the minerals in their land.

This is good news because our country is blessed with one of the best mineral resources potential in Africa and the entire world.

Mining experts observe several factors why the mining industry is not growing. Among them, the experts cite a weak legal and policy environment, lack of clarity on revenue generation, tracking, monitoring and evaluation, greed and lack of political will, weak technical and managerial capacity of the government in mining.

An analysis by Tilitonse (published, May, 2013) uncovered some of the reasons mentioned as issues that needed to be addressed urgently for the country to benefit from mining.

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