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.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :