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Malawi Government calls for enhanced transparency, accountability in mineral exportation

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Mining, Joseph Mkandawire, has called for enhanced transparency and accountability in exportation of mineral resources for the country to realize the benefits.

Mkandawire made the call during a stakeholders’ forum in Lilongwe on Friday.

“The future of mineral exportation in Malawi is bright. But we cannot, as a nation, realize the benefits if we, Malawians, collaborate and take the lead in facilitating illegal mining operations,” he said.

Air Cargo Malawi Limited hosted the forum to enable players and stakeholders in the mining sector to identify challenges and suggest solutions to the challenges the sector faces so that the country benefits more from the minerals.

Mkandawire said there is a need for players and stakeholders to enhance their collaboration in harnessing mineral resources for the greater good of the nation, both now and for generations to come.

Mkandawire: collaboration is vital to harness mineral resources

He said Malawi is endowed with abundant mineral resources such as coal, uranium, rare earth minerals, phosphates, bauxite, kaolinitic, kayanite, limestone, gemstones, titanium, and vermiculite, among others.

The PS said these minerals provide immense potential job and wealth creation and socio economic growth of our country.

“However, we must acknowledge that mining, if not managed properly, can have detrimental effects on our environment and communities. It is our responsibility to enforce good mining practices to promote sustainable mining. As stakeholders in the mining industry, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the extraction and exportation of minerals benefit not only a few, but the entire nation. We must strive to maximize the value of our mineral resources while ensuring that the environment is protected and the local communities are not exploited,” emphasized Mkandawire.

“Transparency and accountability are paramount in mineral exportation. We must work together to combat illegal mining activities, smuggling, and corruption. By promoting good governance practices, we can build trust with our international partners and attract responsible investors who are committed to ethical practices.

“Furthermore, we must prioritize the development of local capacity and skills in the mining sector. By investing in training and education for our workforce, we can empower our people to actively participate in and benefit from the mineral exportation industry,” he added.

Mkandawire also disclosed that the Ministry of Mining is making efforts towards promoting local participation and investment into the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sub-sector.

He said local participation and investment into the ASM sub-sector cannot be sustainably realized if the country does not know the related governing laws.

“Let us always remember that illegal mining operations do not account for the mineral resources benefits to the country. Illegal mining does not care for the environment, it does not consider the future generations and they do not care for the health and safety of the people. They are also associated with human rights abuses including child labour and exploitation by offering low wages or benefits,” he narrated.

He encouraged Malawians to consider mining as one of the areas to invest into, stressing that there are investment opportunities in the ASM sub-sector, including mining, buying and selling of gemstones; mining and processing of salt; mining of limestone and production of terrazzo; and mining of limestone and production of both agricultural and industrial lime.

Air Cargo Malawi Chief Executive Officer, Thokozani Unyolo, said the company observed that there has been a significant increase in volumes of rare earths being exported to western countries.

Unyolo stated that the forum was therefore organized to enable players and stakeholders in the mining sector to identify challenges the sector faces and suggest solutions to the same so that the country benefits more from the sector.

She added that metals are critical to the economies – necessary for computers, mobile phones, airplanes, medical devices, rechargeable batteries and much more.

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