Kyungu halts mining activities of new China company: ‘We are not fools’

Paramount Chief Kyungu of Malawi’s northern district of Karonga has lambasted government authorities for issuing mining licenses to foreign investors to start mining in his area without informing “the owners of the land” on their presence.

Malawi government has just given license to new mining industry called Hainan International Resources from China to mine minerals such as limonite and rutile in Karonga district’s Nyungwe area.

Speaking during consultative meeting on Wednesday a representative of the mining company George Maneya who is Northern Region Mining Engineer told participants to the meeting that the mine management want to start mapping next week Tuesday in the allocated area.

“It was Monday when these miners came to my office saying they want to start mapping in Nyungwe area, that is why I have come here to inform you about the start of mining . You  should not be surprised as most of them don’t know how to speak English apart from their language,” said Maneya.

Paramount Chief Kyungu

Paramount Chief Kyungu

According to Maneya the mapping is expected to start from Wvowe River up to the lake, saying people should not be worried because it is harmless as it will be normal mapping.

However. this did not go down well with Kyungu who asked government authorities to stop taking people for granted and start respecting the communities on issues of national interest .

He accused the miners of  following poor procedure and asked them go back and communicate with the chiefs before they start any activity  on mining.

“We are not fools that you have to take us for granted by just coming into our land without informing us on exactly what you are going to do and surprisingly you are saying members of the community should not be worried when they see these people in their homes when doing their mapping. How do you think the community will act on the activities in their land without being informed,” said Kyungu.

He warned the government authorities against giving mining licenses before conducting environmental assessment, saying mining is now a source of natural disasters happening in the district which are resulting in suffering of many people there.

“Yes we know that we need investors in our country but you should also consider people’s lives. The communities around the mine should be civic educated on the minerals the miners are going to explore so that they should not have bad perception on the mining,” said Kyungu.

He said the procedure followed in the new Chinese mine would likely brings violence in the district because communities worry about their lives and they think District Council officials has been corrupted so that the miners should start mining.

“The area you are mentioning is within my land and I will not allow that until communities are well informed and educated about the minerals,” he said before he appealed to the miners to find a person who should be communicating with people in their working area because it was revealed that all the management of the new mine cannot speak English  which is Malawi’s official language.

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