Despite the ongoing dispute between Malawi and Tanzania over Lake Malawi that sits on oil deposits Malawi’s Minister of Mining, John Bande, was last week in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania attending the Great Rift Valley Mining Summit.
Over the last few months, the two countries have been loggerheads over Lake Malawi ownership after the Malawi awarded gas and oil exploration contract to Surestream of Britain in 2011.
The development forced Dodoma to warn Lilongwe to stop the exploration of oil claiming part of the lake belonging to it.
But Malawi hit back saying it will not bow down as it was justified to explore oil as Lake Malawi was within the borders of Malawi according to the Germany and British treaty of 1890, and reaffirmed by Organization of African Union meeting conducted in 1963.
According to Tanzania media and Mininginmalawi.com, Bande told the summit in Dar es Salaam, that Malawi had abundant mineral resources that are yet to be tapped.
“Serious investors are welcome as our country is also peaceful. What we need is further geological work and exploration to determine and confirm real potential,” he told the two-day summit (17th and 18th April) organized by Entico Events.
The conference drew government officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the host Tanzania.
They met with international organisations and financing bodies as well as over 50 mine owners and mining companies in the region from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK and USA.
Malawi’s delegation at this summit was made up of Bande and Eliya Saiti, the Regional Mining Engineer at the Ministry of Mining’s Department of Mines.
According to statistics from the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the country needs exports of above $3 billion if it is to be afloat.
And the increases in exports are anticipated to be driven in part by the growing mining sector as identified in the country’s Economic Recovery Plan (2012) and in the new Mines and Minerals Policy (2013).
However, other research conducted by the Institute for Policy Interaction reveals that Malawi loses $1 billion per year due to the smuggling of precious stones and lack of.-