Malawi denies illegal gold mining at Senzani, Phalula

Following allegations that circulated on social media recently that CP Feeds is carrying out illegal mining of gold about 50km west of the main road between Senzani and Phalula, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining deployed an expert team of investigators to the area and has since established that no such illegal act is being done there.

Informal gold mining in Malawi is helping the locals, but raising government eyebrows. Picture: REUTERS

The Ministry said they were alerted of the allegation through WhatsApp and Facebook social media through a post that started circulating on  November  8 2018 in which the originator of the story had indicated that he found a vast area that is being cleared and dug with earth moving machines.

The source of the allegations said he/she noticed huge water tanks for water used to process the gold ore and that the area has high potential for gold.

“He concluded that Crown was doing illegal mining on the site. He took some photos that he posted on social media as proof of illegal gold mining. He even asked the communities as to what was happening on the site. The communities indicated to him that CP is constructing chicken pens and other farm buildings,” says the statement signed by Patrick Matanda, Secretary for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining.

“Following on the story, on Friday 10th November 2018, the Department of Mines deployed a team of mine inspectors to the site and conducted investigations and its Following are the preliminary findings are that the area in question is 3.7km west of the Zalewa road not 50km and is on a ridge and slightly steeping.

“Crown has cleared a large expanse of land approximate size of one football field [and] the company used bulldozer to clear and level the land and also dig foundations.

“The area is for the construction of chicken pens and other farm buildings [and] there is a borehole with a submersible pump and 3 large water tanks for water storage to be used for the construction works and other farm activities as the area is very dry.

“There are some heaps of sand, bricks and quarry stone as some construction of buildings has also started [and] no equipment synonymous with mining such as diggers, damp trucks, front-end loaders and crushers were found on site.

“No equipment for processing of the gold ore to recover the gold nor damp rock and tailings produced from the mining and washing of the gold ore were found on site; furthermore, no sign of transportation of ore to another site for processing was found.

“There was no sign of drilling and use of explosives to blast the rocks [and] the type of levelling and excavations on site do not conform to known mine designs either open pit/opencast or underground tunnels.”

The mini inspectors also said the communities around the site indicated no knowledge of mining on the site but construction of chicken pens and farm buildings and that just some rocks and soil samples were collected for geochemical tests.

“The results do not indicate any traces of gold as alleged that the area is very rich in gold. The preliminary investigations have shown that it is a construction site for farm buildings and not a mining site. If anyone has any information contrary to the findings above please present such information to the Ministry.

“The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining would like to appeal to the general public to report any suspicious activities in mining to the Ministry, Department of Mines, Geological Survey Department, Police and DCs.

“These are institutions that have the expertise and are mandated to regulate the sector. We wish to inform the general public that the Ministry is equally very concerned with issues of illegal mining and all mining malpractices.  As such it will vigilantly pursue all cases so as to have discipline in the sector,” says the statement.

Just this same week, it was reported that the Police in Lilongwe closed an illegal mine at Lumwila Village in Nathenje area.

Other illegal mines closed are in Mangochi, Blantyre and Lilongwe. It is believed that there are more sites across the country people think have mineral deposits.

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3 years ago

Yes, we read about the issue on social media. Nevertheless one wonders why there is Crown this and that, all to do with chicken farming, over a fairly long M1 stretch between Zalewa and Senzani? Does the farmer honestly require all that land, no doubt acquired from the unsuspecting locals for a pittance? Is this the practice elsewhere? You would think one sufficiently large area would suffice. You cannot blame people for concluding, perhaps wrongly, that chicken farming is just a front and that the target is precious stones believed to be available around the locality which is very close… Read more »

3 years ago

typical of malawi government. Sangavomeleze chifukwa diluyi ndi tawo so how do you expect them to admit? whistle blower yu siwamisala lets continue critising him while these thieves are spoiling our resources through the crooked asians like the karims in the chaponda maize saga. wake up malawians

Roderick Phiri
Roderick Phiri
3 years ago

It’s displeasing to note that the whistle blower is not a layman in this field. He could have analyzed the scenery before concluding and eventually posting on social media such unfounded allegations. How should we judge him now?

Kalulu Wadwala
Kalulu Wadwala
3 years ago

Mungabvomere? Nkhuku zafika mpaka ma katapila? Malawi ndi anthu ake dziko lomvetsa chisoni. We are becoming foreigners in our own country. Let me tell you . A good indian is a dead one.

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