Scores of villagers from Kanyika under Traditional Authority Mabilabo held protests at Mzimba Boma, the district headquarters, demanding that government pay them disturbance compensation for failing to resettle them during the past four years.
`Samples collected 72 metric tonnes and no feedback to the community`, ` We say no to induced poverty` read some of the placards the villagers carried to the District Commissioner’s office.
The villagers have since given government 90 days to respond and warned that they will hold further serious protests and vigils at the District council offices and at the Office of the President and Cabinet if they do not get response from government.
The villagers represented about 248 families who were affected by the Kanyika Niobium Project in Mzimba which would be run by Globe Metals and Mining Company.
The Kanyika Niobium exploration area covers an area of approximately 607sq km and will affect 248 households and 1360 people.
Ferro-niobium is a critical additive in the production of sophisticated steels.
Once operational, the Kanyika Niobium Mine will be the first of its kind in Africa but the fourth in the world after two other mines in Brazil and one in Canada.
With a projected life span of 20 years and an annual output of 3000 metric tonnes of Niobium metal, the Mine is expected to rake in US$180million (MK50 billion) per year in revenues and employ 2000 Malawians in the construction phase and 800 operations start.
But since 2012, the Malawi government told the families to stop engaging in any development activities because of the impending displacement.
`It is sad that the community at Kanyika continues to wait in vain. These families continue to farm on small pieces of land which is unfertile and polluted,` reads part of the petition they presented to Mzimba District Commissioner Thomas Chirwa.
Chirwa said he sympathized with the villagers` plight and assured them that he will forward the petition to relevant authorities.
`I am sure you will get the response within the period you have stipulated in the petition,` he said.
In a separate interview Mzuzu Diocese Projects Officer Felix Manda said they lack of accountability on the part of government.
` The government feels that rural people are docile and cannot do anything or questions its decision or motives. The government forgets that it derives its authority from the same people it treats as garbage,` Manda said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :