Reserve Bank of Malawi buys K1.6 billion gold from locals

Wilson Banda

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has bought 15 kilogrammes of gold from within the country in four months which, if processed, is valued at $2 million or K1.6 billion.

The central bank has acknowledged that it was buying the mineral resources from both licenced and non-licenced miners at a price ranging from K38,000 to K46,000 per gramme.

Section 26(g) of the RBM Act empowers the bank to buy gold in Malawi.


The gold is being extracted in Lilongwe, Kasungu, Nkhotakota, Nkhata Bay, Dowa, Balaka, Neno, Machinga and Ntcheu districts.

RBM Governor Wilson Banda disclosed this when he appeared before members of Parliament’s Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change in Lilongwe yesterday.

He told the committee that the bank was simultaneously buying and working with the Ministry of Mining to licence miners to formalise the industry.


The central bank governor feared that, if they could be hard on non-licenced miners, the miners would opt to operate in secret, causing the country to lose money.

He, however, said the market had been infiltrated by illegal buyers from other countries including Tanzania and Mozambique.

“This development raises national security threats and deprives the nation of opportunities to earn the much needed foreign currency,” Banda said.

The central bank claimed that there is also a syndicate of people of Asian origin who secretly buy gold from artisanal and small scale minors.

The gold is then smuggled overseas to countries such as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and India, committee members heard.

Banda said, if well managed, gold mining would greatly bolster foreign exchange generation because the main foreign exchange earners such as tobacco were facing challenges.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee of Parliament Chairperson George Million has advised the Ministry of Mining— through the Department of Mining— to swiftly licence miners to bring sanity to the industry.

So far, 38 individuals have been registered while several cooperatives are in the process of being registered.

Secretary for Mining Joseph Mkandawire said the ministry was in the process of issuing licences.

Mkandawire acknowledged that, if the mineral sector were well managed, it would contribute greatly to the country’s gross domestic product, which is defined as the total monetary or market value of all finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.

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