MPs threaten to chase away mining firms: Minister denies Tanzania confiscated gemstones from Malawi

Some members of parliament in Dowa have threatened to mobilise their people to chase away mining firms which they accuse of starting mining without getting permission from the district council.

Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira briefs members of press on concerns on Illegal mining and attendant allegations.-Photo by Lisa Kadango

Dowa east MP Richard Chimwendo Banda said there was need for the mining firms to go through the district council, where MPs, councilors and traditional leaders sit, to discuss issues of corporate social responsibility.

“Some of these companies just come to our areas and start mining without consulting the council. This is wrong. We need to know what they will do for the community where they are getting the minerals,” he said.

He was referring to a mining firm, Graphite Africa which is mining graphite in Kampala and Namonikatengeza areas.

Meanwhile, the minister of Energy and Natural Resources Binton Kutsaira says the government with the help of the government of Tanzania have investigated reports that gemstones and other precious stones from Malawi were confiscated at Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania.

There have been fevered reports that t gemstones mined in the country are being exported illegally through Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania to Far Eastern countries at the expense of tangible economic benefits to the nation.

Minister Kutsaira said the reports were not true.

But Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee of Parliament chairperson Werani Chilenga  said the traders of the gemstones are buying from Malawians and other nationals who are illegally mining, saying “there is no control and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining is to blame for all these issues.”

Chilenga said te mining is free for all because the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining does not have guidelines to penalise offenders.

On illegal mining, Minister Kutsaira said a rapid response team is on the ground doing spot checks, monitoring and reinforcing.

He said there are plans to establish a state owned mining vehicle to spearhead mining efforts in the country.

Natural Resources Justice Network chairperson Kossam Munthali, who leads a grouping of some 30 local and international civil society organisations (CSOs) said government has ignored the reasoning of the CSOs that it should embrace small miners.

He said small miners are usually exploited by foreigners for labour and cheap mineral nugget purchases, adding that government should train and fund them into licensed cottage enterprises from which government will collect fees and royalties.

“It is over seven years now since our network, for example, began lobbying for the community training sessions. All this time, government has been paying lip service to the idea, even on a precautionary basis,” said Munthali.

In December last year, Parliament passed the long-awaited Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, which was earlier this year assented to by the President.

The legislation seeks to regulate the development of mineral resources in the country through adherence to sustainable development principles.

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Sahara
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Sahara

Kutsaira chinkhope kunyansa! Gemstones are priced up to $60,000 per carat and we are letting the Chinese steal this precious stone from us. Please the people of Chitipa, do whatever you can do to protect our wealth. Malawi as a country should benefit from this not just DPP, the tippex president and his cadets.

mpilu
Guest
mpilu

we got ministers by name bcoz once taken given the post!!! yaaaa koma ndi
1.ngongole woth no interst
2 ma personal business.
3 azimai olo azibambo dama ciwelewele
4.ma trip ku shopiing abroad

etc etc
sakhala olo kumapita mmadela kukaona zocitika mmadelamu
all they do is saying verse, kuimba masalimo otamandi pitala powalemetsa in a short time

Mbwiyachi
Guest
Mbwiyachi

Minister Ali phwiiii tamuonene kukamwa

mpilu
Guest
mpilu

pali kacenjede wina ali ku embassy ndipo anali minister of mining, had once done some inauguration in malingunde and then that was not his ministry, and has family,kids in Canada where the malingunde gem stones are still going for samples.
the funny thing about malawians is that we dont follow our history. no wonder nothing gets tangible.all we got are incompete sentences. period.

mpilu
Guest
mpilu

you got the evidence ,then take action, in the 1st place, how dd they start the starrt the big projects?
mw full pretenders, culprits

Munyapa
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Munyapa

Kuntsaira and Peter akudziwa zonsezi ndi business yao , koma akulankhula ngati sakudziwapo kanthu pamene anadya ndalama kale zambiri.

Sahara
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Sahara

The minister is clueless of what’s happening. Tipex government for real!

Kanyimbi
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Kanyimbi

Migodi yakuno imasainidwa ku State House kopanda mthumwi zaku unduna wa Migodi pangakhale chilungamo pamenepa? Chisanzo Kayerekera Mining zonse amalongosola ndi malemu Bingu popanda unduna kudziwa sikuba kokhakokha kumeneku?

vavlov
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vavlov

What a sad story. The minister doesn’t know Malawi’s precious stones are being smuggled out of the country. Is this the leadership Malawians want to continue with?

Wilson Nkwanda
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Wilson Nkwanda

This mining sector requires credible experts to tell the nation frankly what we have in stock as minerals as well as knowledge on how mining deals should be handled in Malawi. We are losing out as as nation on these mining issues. Some of us suspect that our politicians are benefitting a lot from these shady deals, that’s why political will is not there. What if graduates from the Mining Engineering Department from the Polytechnic are sent abroad by Malawi Govt to countries where there is adequate expertise on mining issues for them to learn how our friends are making… Read more »

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