The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has bought over 70 kilogrammes (kg) of gold from cooperatives since May last year valued at over K3.6 billion.
RBM Public Relations Manager Ralph Tseka told journalists recently that the cooperatives were made up of small-scale artisans and the central bank licenced them to enhance formal trading of the commodity.
The central bank started buying gold in the country in May last year, a move touted to be a game-changer in the mining industry as it provides a market for small-scale and industrial mining ventures.
According to Tseka, prospects remain good.
“Over the years, gold has been smuggled outside the country and Malawians could not benefit from it.
“We did not come as a ‘vendor’ but we introduced what we called a structured market for gold. That is to say, here is a market where you can come officially. This is now the government that has put this institution in place of buying gold since May 1 2021,” Tseka said.
However, in an interview, Natural Resource Justice Network (NRJN) said RBM is offering low prices of K41,000 per gram, instead of over K50,000 per gram.
NRJN Board Chairperson Kossam Munthali said the local miners are not given information on how much RBM will be selling the gold on the international market.
“This is professional Robbying of local miners. Why is RBM not coming out to tell local miners about the prices they are selling on the international market?
“RBM told us that their starting prices are K41,000 per gram and why not over K50,000?” Munthali said.
He also said middlemen are benefitting a lot from RBM as local miners sell the gold at K20,000.
Some of the districts known to have gold deposits include Mangochi, Lilongwe, Balaka, Kasungu, Neno, Mzimba and Ntcheu.
Some of the gold products in Malawi include Gold Bar, Gold Ore, Raw Gold Bars, Gold Dust, Diamond Carat, 24 Carat Gold and Gold Bullion.