Paramount Chief Kyungu in Malawi’s northern border district of Karonga has vowed to lead the people in lobbying for developmental projects from mining investors, claiming that since the coming of the mining companies in the district people have not benefited anything.
Speaking during mining sensitization music show carried by Government on Saturday, Kyungu said mines investors in Malawi steal the country’s natural resources as well as spoiling the environment yet they leave the people poor.
“Karonga is one of the districts in Malawi where different mining activities are being carried out but people here cannot point out any developmental project that has been brought by such companies. To us the mining investors are bringing nothing but disaster to the community,” said Kyungu.
“As such from now on wards in front of you government officials from mines, I don’t want the investors to exploit and damage our natural resources especially here in Karonga and leave us impoverished,” said the influential chief.
“I am prepared to die in fighting for development in Karonga from miners who are having the natural resources in there district,” Kyungu said.
Kyungu also pointed out at Australia uranium miner, Paladin, on the issue of discharging water from a tailings dam at its Kayelekera Uranium Mine into the North Rukuru River, a source of water for people in the Karonga District in the north of Malawi, saying it poses human and environmental hazards.
But Paladin is adamant that the tailings water doesn’t pose risk and it plans to start discharging the water in early 2015
“To the part of Paladin, I have put my life on death line on behalf of my people in fighting for our rights to show them that we are also human beings and if the company continues to be arrogant it will see the anger of Karonga people,” warned Kyungu.
Karonga District Commissioner Rosemary Moyo asked the central government to open specific office on mines in the district that will be responsible in mining activities as well as answer questions from the community.
Jalf Salima who is the Director in the department of Geological Survey said government has brought in a new strategy that will make mining activities benefit people on the ground.
“The reason why we are here is to sensitize people that government is aware of the problems that the community is facing with the mining companies in their areas, as such it is reviewing the mine and minerals Act which was put in place in 1981 so that the mining companies should have two signed agreements, one with the community and the other with government so that both sides should benefit from the company,” said Salima.
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Atupele Muluzi government policy is of exploring the mining sector to contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the country’s wealth.
He said if explored and used accordingly, the sector can contribute over 20 percent to the country’s GDP, supplementing what agriculture contributes to the economy.
The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MDGS) identifies mining as one of the sectors that could potentially generate economic growth for the country but has not yet been fully explored. Major mining activities in the country are done on a small-scale but the proceeds are not widely marketed.
Malawi has traditionally been considered as an agro-based rather than mineral-based economy because of the policies that government pursued since independence.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :