Fast – track mineral exploration – Mbawala

May 20, 2022

By Malawi Exclusive

Minister of mining Honourable Dr Albert Mbawala has advised investors to fast-track mineral exploration projects to progress to mining stage in order for the extractive sector to adequately contribute to sustainable economic growth.

Hon Dr Mbawala

The Minister highlighted this following a series of meetings he had with investors in the mining sector.

Speaking after meeting the Managing Director for Rift Valley Mining Company Russell Thorncroft, Mbawala said government is optimistic that the company’s quarrying and limestone processing project in Chikwawa will ease importation costs of hydrated lime for sugar and steel production lines.

The mining company is scheduled to commence limestone quarrying and processing in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts where it will be producing hydrated lime, quick lime and agricultural lime.

The Minister said the country needs such strategic investments for economic growth as production of hydrated lime reflects tremendous advancement in sugar and steel production lines.

Mbawala said: “Hydrated lime is very useful in the production of sugar and steel. However, 100% of hydrated lime used by sugar and steel producing companies in our country is imported from Zambia or South Africa, sometimes as far as the Middle East.”

The Minister explained that such importation trends have left the country’s economic status on standstill due to drainage effect on foreign exchange coffers.

He said: “As government we believe once this company starts its operations, the importation of hydrated lime will be reduced or completely come to an end.”

“We are, therefore, very optimistic that this project will help our country save forex and generate some through exportation of the hydrated lime, additionally the project poses to create employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour.”

The mining minister also pledged government’s support for smooth implementation of the project citing, “it is the dream of the current regime to have a vibrant mining industry which contributes massively towards social and economic development of our country.”

Meanwhile, the company has already conducted feasibility studies and exploration, with advanced drilling slated to begin later this year.

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