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Reserve Bank of Malawi offer ‘low’ prices for gold

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Civil society organisations under Natural Resources Justice Network (NRNJ) have accused the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) of buying gold deposits from small-scale miners at uncompetitive prices.

The network alleged Thursday that artisans have complained that the central bank is buying the deposits at K41,000 per gram on average, but some foreign traders were allegedly buying the commodity illegally at K60 000 per gram.

NRNJ Chairperson Kossam Munthali said it is not surprising that the precious metal is being smuggled abroad where gold prices are higher than the price RBM is offering.

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The central bank is buying gold from small-scale miners who established cooperatives.

Munthali said the local miners have suggested the establishment of an independent gold evaluator to prevent RBM from imposing prices.

“Why are they buying gold at as low as K41,000 per gram and not starting from K70, 000 per gram. Should we say the local miners are benefitting?” Munthali wondered.

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Munthali further faulted RBM for what he called failing to disclose how much the commodity is fetching on the international market.

But RBM spokesperson Raph Tseka said, sometimes, local miners get K55,000 per gram if the presented gold has high purity.

“It is not that we buy gold at the same price. Prices keep on changing depending on the purity. So, I cannot comment on their proposed prices but they must know that we give prices according to its purity,” Tseka said.

On the establishment of an independent evaluator, Tseka said RBM works with experts from the Ministry of Mining who value the gold and give proper prices.

Ministry of Mining Public Relations Officer Andrew Mkonda Banda asked for more time to comment on the matter.

RBM said recently said it has spent over K3.6 billion on buying over 70 kilogrammes of gold from cooperatives since May last year.

Some of the districts known to have gold deposits include Mangochi, Nkhata Bay, Lilongwe, Balaka, Kasungu, Neno, Mzimba and Ntcheu.

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