Report faults government on illegal mining

Kossam Munthali

Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN) research findings show that recent interventions by the government to curb illegal mining are yielding little results.

The report, which focusses on illegal mining and trading of gold at Namizimu Forest in Mangochi District, indicates that unauthorised miners continue to dominate.

The report indicates that unsystematic gold buying processes by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) are promoting more unauthorised mining activities.


“Local miners indicated that RBM usually comes without notice, which is worrying,” the draft report reads.

NRJN Chairperson Kossam Munthali said there is a need for intensified efforts within the government machinery to check the vice.

“We need to set up an independent institution that will determine the value of the gold, though alluvial, because the local miners say they do not have bargaining power. We need to set up a structured market for such minerals,” Munthali said.


In a recent interview, RBM spokesperson Ralph Tseka conceded that the local market is being prized out through smuggling.

He said the central bank failed to buy gold in the last financial year because of stiff competition caused by prices set by smugglers.

Ministry of Mining spokesperson Andrew Mkonda Banda said the ministry has not received any tangible reports of gold smuggling and its attendant perpetrators in Malawi.

He added that, so far, no one has been apprehended while attempting to smuggle gold abroad.

“…however, there are allegations circulating in some media platforms alluding to the fact that there are worldwide cartels, particularly in underdeveloped nations, that take advantage of the weak regulatory infrastructure in these nations in order to smuggle gold,” he said.

Earlier this year the Ministry said a Precious Minerals Unit has been established at the Export Development Fund and key positions have been filled ready to roll out the programme.

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