Chakwera Says Mining to Boost Economy

Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera says his administration is determined to use the mining industry as an ingredient to transform the country.

Chakwera made the remarks yesterday when delivering the State of Nation Address (SONA) at Parliament in Malawi’s capital , Lilongwe.

The president said the country has mineral deposits that are underutilized.

“It is an established fact that under our feet are rich minerals like uranium, gold, bauxite, coal and phosphates. And more recently, it has been discovered that just outside this city is the largest deposit of rutile in the world. My administration is determined to leverage these resources for economic transformation,” he said.

According to Chakwera, in the current financial year, his administration has already taken decisive steps such as Commencing the establishment of the Mining Regulatory Authority to regulate the development,27 management and utilization of the country’s mineral resources,and members of this House should expect the Mining Regulatory Authority Bill to be tabled in this sitting.

The Malawi leader said his administration is set to continue the capitalization and operationalization of the National Mining Company under the Ministry of Mining.

“My administration will also continue the construction of a state of the art mineral processing laboratory complex, which is now at 95% completion. The continued designation of the Reserve Bank of Malawi as a structured market for gold, which as of November 2022, had procured a total of 186.96 kilograms of gold bought at a total purchase cost of 9.4 billion kwacha,”

“Finalizing the formalization of the Artisanal and Small-scale mining sector in recognition of the role they play in extracting various minerals and reviewing poorly negotiated mining agreements from the past in order to close all loopholes and conflicts of interest that were designed to deprive Malawi of its mineral riches,” he said.

According to the president, one key area that his administration will strengthen this coming fiscal year is the enforcement of mining laws and regulations.

“Several laws like the Mines and Minerals Act of 2019 and the Reserve Bank of Malawi Act of 2018 are simply not being complied with. As a case in point, the Reserve Bank of Malawi Act designates the Bank as the sole institution that can purchase, sell or hold gold in Malawi, yet there are people from various nations here procuring gold in Malawi without a licence. These are criminals and my Administration will deal with them according to law,” he said.

Malawi’s mining sector accounts for 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Malawi has several minerals with economic potential, such as: uranium, phosphates (apatite), bauxite, kaolinitic, coal, kyanite, limestones, rare earths (including strontianite and monazite), graphite, sulphides (pyrite and pyrrhotite),titanium minerals, and vermiculite.

Most of these minerals were evaluated in the past by either Ministry of Mining (through Geological Survey Department) or private companies. Only phosphate, coal, limestone, uranium, iron ore, rock aggregate, and precious stones have been exploited. Several rare earth and niobium projects are planned, with anticipated start dates in the next 2 years.

Gas and oil exploration in Lake Malawi is underway. The government plans to use onshore clean technology to preserve the lake’s ecosystem.

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