Speaking at a Press briefing Thursday in Lilongwe dubbed ‘Government Faces the Press’ which aimed to review progress in the mining sector, he highlighted that the Ministry has identified the lack of proper market as a gap in Gemstone mining which has left Malawians in the business stranded.
“There is no proper market for Gemstones and a number of Malawians in gemstone mining have been duped in the process by smugglers since the market has been a problem and because of that gap. The Ministry engaged with RBM to provide a market for it, that as they are buying Gold they should also be buying the gemstones,” Mbawala disclosed.
He stated that the Ministry would continue working with security agencies to safeguard the mining sector for the country to realize forex and urged Malawians to report the smuggling of minerals and illegal mining.
The Minister assured Malawians that RBM was at its final stage to open the market and buy from Malawians at small-scale mining in February 2023 which would create jobs in the process.
Meanwhile, the Ministry is appealing to mining firms to exercise patience regarding the signing of Mining Development Agreements (MDAs) due to several procedures that the ministry will have to go through in the process to ensure that the country benefits from it.
In a separate interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), National Coordinator for Natural Resource Justice Network, Kennedy Rashid has advised RBM to consult stakeholders in mining to ensure fair monopoly in the market.
“This is a good initiative; RBM should do wide stakeholders consultation with Gemstone miners, traders, and the companies into mining because they need to understand what the situation is on the market,
Government needs to look at such initiatives because there are international principles and issues of fair trade policies and regional trade policies that guide these things as well as international and put them into consideration,” he noted.
As of November 30th, 2022, the Reserve Bank of Malawi has purchased a total volume of 187 kilograms (Kg) of Gold, worth K 9.4 billion which has been acquired from mining cooperatives since the Gold market initiative in May 2021.