Minister of Mining Dr Albert Mbawala has assured Malawians that his ministry is making progress in boosting the mining sector in the country.
Mbawala said this on Monday this week when he delivered the ministerial statement on the progress of mining development in the country.
The minister further disclosed that from 1st July 2021 to date, his ministry has issued 48 new large-scale Mineral Exploration Licenses, 19 Retention Licenses, 5 Medium to Large-scale Mining Licenses, 322 Small-scale Mining Licenses (66 of which are Gold Mining Licenses) and 420 Reserved Mineral Licenses.
“The major mineral projects in the pipeline include Kanyika Niobium Project in Mzimba by Globe Metals and Mining, Songwe Hills Rare Earth Minerals Project in Phalombe by Mkango Resources Limited, Kayelekera Uranium Mining Project in Karonga by Lotus Resources Limited, and, Graphite and Rutile Projects at Malingunde and Kasiya respectively in Lilongwe by Sovereign Services Limited.” Added the mining minister.
Mbawala further said his ministry is spearheading the establishment and operationalization of a state-owned mining investment company whose mandate shall be stimulating the optimal development of the mineral sector and maximisation of the national mineral revenue and social benefits.
He, nonetheless, proclaimed that for this to materialise, the ministry needs 5 Billion Malawi Kwacha as initial seed capital for the company.
“Meanwhile, Madam Speaker, my ministry has submitted a funding request to the Ministry of Finance for consideration during this 2022/23 Mid-Year Budget Review.” Said Mbawala.
Geology and Mining expert who is also Chairperson for the Chamber of Mines, Grain Malunga said it is high time the country established a state-owned mining company since MIDCOR was abolished years back.
“This should be viewed as a holding company that will promote the minerals sector, oil and gas, participating in state equity and provide leadership for divestiture to promote local participation in the mining sector. I am very optimistic that this arrangement will help the promotion of the development of strategic minerals necessary for import substitution, youth employment creation, trigger the development of economic linkages and bring about technological advancement.” Said Malunga.
He nevertheless warned that the company, once established, should be managed by professional stewards recruited on merit and with autonomy to offer maximum return to the shareholder, government.