Zambian firm bids for Malawi’s lake oil

A Zambian mining company, Kainsha Energy, registered in Lusaka in February 2012, has put in an application for an Exclusive Prospecting Licence for a block in Lake Malawi despite the fact that Malawi is yet to resolve its lake border row with Tanzania.

Last year the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Mzuzu Diocese has warned government to trade cautiously with companies that invest in Malawi saying the Kayerekera Uranium mine in Karonga District is a clear example of how people fail to benefit from resources they have kept for generations.

“We urge government to consider the plight of local people before engaging in any contract with these companies,” CCJP’s Diocesan Secretary, Alnord Msimuko said.

The Malawi government has already allocated three oil blocks to Surestream Petroleum and SacOil, according toMining in Malawi.

Fishing families on Lake Malawi,  Many fisherfolk have said they have been beaten up and detained by Tanzanian police since the dispute over the lake began late last year. Credit: Mabvuto Banda/IPS -

Fishing families on Lake Malawi, Many fisherfolk have said they have been beaten up and detained by Tanzanian police since the dispute over the lake began late last year. Credit: Mabvuto Banda/IPS –

Surestream has blocks 2 and 3, which run from Karonga to Nkhotakota.

Kainsha Energy is a private company with a vision of building a successful E&P company in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana. Kainsha Energy’s founders have significant experience in international E&P and a successful record of accomplishment in corporate development, the company’s website said.

Last month Malawi’s Foreign Affairs minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume announced that Malawi had temporarily stopped the issuance of licences pending the resolution of the Lake border dispute.

The company says it has a focus on oil and gas exploration in two main play systems – the Tertiary Rift Systems of the Great Lakes and the Rift systems of the Karroo – widespread over Southern Africa. The primary oil focus is on the basins of Lake Tanganyika in Northern Zambia and Lake Nyasa/Malawi.

Kainsha Energy is a subsidiary of Swala Energy Limited. Swala Energy, registered in the British Virgin Island, also owns equity in blocks in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Malawi government indicated a few days ago that it is now taking the Lake border dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) saying it has lost trust in the current mediation process by former SADC President headed by Joachim Chissano because Malawi’s documents leaked to its rival.

Malawi claims sovereignty over the entire Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest, based on the Helgoland Treaty, a colonial relic, while Tanzania claims under international law it is entitled to over 50 percent of the Lake known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.

The border row, which is more than 40 years old, resurfaced after Malawi discovered Oil in the Lake.

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