Minister of Mining, Rashid Gaffar MP has disclosed that he hopes that the growth of the extractive industry in Malawi will contribute 30 percent funding to the future national budget.
Gaffar made the remarks on Friday when he visited Songwe Hill Rare Earth project being explored and developed by Mkango Resources Limited in Phalombe district.
This was the minister’s first visit since he was appointed just over a month ago by President Lazarus Chakwera.
Accompanied by the ministry’s principal secretary, Dr Joseph Mkandawire, directors from the Mining department and Geological Survey, the Phalombe district commissioner and the district council chairperson, the government delegation expressed satisfaction with all of the exploration and development works for rare earth elements like Neodymium, Praseodymium, Dysprosium and Terbium.
“Mining is the future of this country especially when we follow the trend where countries are advocating for use of clean energy. High Strength rare earth magnets which will be made from our rare earth elements can be used to manufacture electric motors to be used in hybrid and electric cars, as well as wind turbines to produce clean energy.
“Currently, the mining industry in Malawi only contributes approximately 1 percent to the national budget, but we want to support the mining industry fully in Malawi, to enable the industry to generate a lot of revenue and profits, so that it can benefit the country and we can all benefit from the countries resources,” said Gaffer.
“This is why the new government decided to create a separate ministry for mining, after realizing the huge potential that the sector has to help develop the country,” he said.
On his visit to the Songwe rare earth deposit, Gaffar said: “I am impressed with the progress of the project, as well as the projects level of transparency, including the Corporate Social Responsibility taking place despite only at the exploration and the feasibility study stage.”
Mkango Resources country director Burton Kachinjika asked the minister to request the Ministry of Energy to provide adequate electrical power to the project.
As the future mining operation will require a stable source of electrical power to run the mine and processing plant, he also requested that a new paved road be built suitable for heavy vehicles between Migowi and the future mine site.
In his reaction, the minister said he will help lobby for all of the issues from the responsible ministries and departments so that the mine will become a reality.
Speaking before the minister, Senior Chief Traditional AuthorityNazombe also commended Mkango for all their various assistance to the communities including the school feeding program, road network improvements, potable water, and secondary school scholarships amongst others.
As well as the Songwe Rare Earth Project, Mkango is also investing in a further three excitingexploration licences, in Mchinji where it is currently exploring for rutile, gold, nickel, cobalt, base metals and graphite.At Chimimbe Hill licence for nickel, cobalt, rutile and gold and the Thambani licence where uranium, niobium, tantalum and zirconare being explored for.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :