HomeNationalMkango Mines set to process rare earth stones

Mkango Mines set to process rare earth stones

Mkango Mines in Phalombe District is expected to construct a chemical plant at Songwe Hill that would be processing rare earth stones into a finished product before exporting it.

Speaking in an interview on Friday after the Minister of Mining toured the hill where the mining will be taking place, Mkango Mines Resources President Alexander Lemon said the processed product would help raise the country’s economy by bringing forex.

“This is a huge project and once we start mining, processing and exporting the rare earth stones, Malawi’s economy would change because of the forex that would be generated from the exportation of the finished product.

“This is the main reason we want to have a plant right here at the site and exporting the finished product than the raw material,” said Lemon.

Lemon added that the construction of the chemical plant at the site would also improve the livelihood of communities around Phalombe, as they expect to create over 1,500 jobs at the construction site once the operations start.

Mining minister with Mkango mining officials at the site. Pic by Linda Likomwa-Mana

He further said the mining industry would also bring along transportation and construction businesses at, among others, Migowi, which is earmarked as the new Phalombe District Boma.

Lemon also said the by-products from the processed rare earth stones would be used to make NPK and groundnuts fertilisers and cement.

“This would also reduce forex the country uses to import fertiliser and cement because it would be us now exporting the by-products to Zambia, Zimbambe and Tanzania which can also reduce the prices of the products at the local market,” he said.

Minister of Mining Monica Chang’anamuno said the mining project would help Malawi in so many areas because it has a minimum mining life of 18 years, but can be extended to 50 years and more.

On the issue of Mining Development Agreement (MDA) with Mkango Mines, Chang’anamuno said government looked at a number of issues as once minerals have been taken out, the ground cannot be replaced, adding government has been learning from other countries in the mining industry to bring the best and avoid such mistakes as those that were done at Kayelekera.

She further said government wanted the mining industry to be a game changer for the country on issues of forex and employment and also to benefit the generation to come.

Mkango Mines has been in the country for 13 years and once the MDA has been finalised and mining license issued, the company will start constructing the chemical plant.

Eighteen million tonnes are expected to be produced at the site for a period of 18 years with estimated 16,000 tonnes expected to be exported each year.

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