Some civil society organisations are blaming the government for the rampant illegal mining across the country, saying the airborne geophysical survey report gave away places where minerals are found.
The government has not yet released the report but the Natural Resources Justice Network executive director Kossam Munthali said the report is already in the hands of illegal miners.
“The problem is that people now know where to mine gold and other precious stones because of the report,” said Munthali.
He said there is need to have a Mines and Minerals Commission in the country to enhance transparency and accountability in money realized from the industry.
Spokesperson for the ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Sangwani Phiri said the airborne geophysical survey was thoroughly done but if the CSOs are not satisfied with the outcome, he said, they can fund for another survey.
The survey was sponsored by the World Bank and was aimed at spotting the exact spots of where minerals are.
Last week, the Lilongwe’s senior principal magistrate court acquitted all 20 Malawian illegal miners who were arrested in Lilongwe for mining along Nathenje river without licence, saying the state failed to prove its case against them.
Magistrate Viva Nyimba said the state’s evidence was disjointed and did not warrant the conviction of the suspects most of whom come from Matapira village in Chief Mazengera’s area which is near to the mining site.
Nyimba also accused the ministry of Energy of withholding vital information on mining from Malawians, such as that prospective miners can get a mining licence with as little as K3 000.
Nyimba blamed the government for the increased illegal mining activities in the country, saying it has failed to civic educate people that mining licences are not as expensive as some people think.
This came to light after the first witness in the case, a deputy director in the ministry of Energy responsible for licences Gibson Nyirenda told the court that with K3 000, people can have access to a two-hectare land of mining in three districts of their choice.
Nyirenda said the ministry requested the police to arrest the suspects after they failed to stop mining after warning them several times.
He said some of the illegal miners were using toxic chemicals to blast off minerals such as gold which he said was a health hazard to the people living in surrounding villages.
Nyirenda said the government discovered the minerals 40 years ago.
It was not immediately known on whether the state would appeal the case.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :