Malawi court okays mineral exploration activities on Mulanje Mountain; ‘Winiko’s’ injunction removed

The High Court in Malawi has granted Spring Stone Limited an order discharging an injunction that restrained the company from carrying out its Rare Earth Elements (REE) Exploration on Mulanje Mountain.

Some concerned citizens and group village headmen from the southern region district of Mulanje challenged Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) and Spring Stone Malawi Limited to stop carrying out all activities at Chambe Basin, which is tucked in the Mountain.

The concerned citizens went ahead to obtain an injunction restraining the company from proceeding with its activities. The injunction was obtained on December 7, 2012.

Led by legislator Peter Nowa and comedian Bon ‘Winiko’ Kalindo, the concerned citizens claimed that the two companies have exploited the mountain’s natural resources as it was engaged in environmentally destructive mining activities at Chambe Basin to the perceived detriment of the local communities.

Bon' Winiko' Kalindo: Injunction removed
Bon’ Winiko’ Kalindo: Injunction removed

They further said they noticed that the two companies “did not come here to conserve and explore on the resources of the mountain but rather destroyed them.”

But the company contested against the injunction and on May 3, 2013, the High Court discharged the restraining order after observing that the company had been carrying out its REE exploration in accordance with the terms and conditions of its Licence under a commitment to cause minimum disturbance of the environment and ensuring the conservation of the environment at Chambe Basin and the surrounding areas.

Apart from discharging the order, the Court has also ordered the concerned citizens bear the costs regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, the company says it is still committed to closely working with Malawi government and to contributing effectively to the social and economic sustainable development.

“The company will continue carrying out its business within the confines of the applicable laws and in full consultation with all relevant local and national stakeholders,” said one of the company’s officials, who asked for anonymity.

Spring Stone Limited is a Malawi subsidiary of an exploration joint venture between Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation and Gold Canyon Resources Inc.

Malawi is slowly discovering a number of deposits like oil, gas, coal, uranium and lime in several parts of the country.

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