Mines Minister Albert Mbawala said the government was slowly leading the establishment and operationalization of the state-owned mining investment company and mining regulatory authority, pointing to the long wait for the proper meaning prevails in the mining sector.
But Mzuzu-based mining activist Paul Mvula says the continued absence of these two institutions is leading to an undervaluation of the mining sector in Malawi.
Mbawala told parliament earlier this week that his ministry needed MK5 billion as initial seed capital for the mining company, which he asked to be considered during the 2022 mid-year budget review. /23.
The mining authority, he said, is awaiting the drafting of a bill for its creation, on which the ministries of mines and justice are working together.
According to Mbawala, the mining company and the mining authority will promote the optimal development of the mining sector and the maximization of national mining revenues and social benefits.
“Indisputably, the operationalization of the mining company will act as a catalyst for the growth and development of the mining sector,” Mbawala said.
Regarding the mining authority, Mbawala added that the Ministry of Mines has been working hand in hand with the Ministry of Justice in drafting the bill establishing the authority since last year.
“In fact, the Ministry of Mines has been in constant contact with the Ministry of Justice and has carried out inter and intra-ministerial (internal) consultations with stakeholders in the drafting of the bill.
However, such work needs sufficient time to effectively examine the specific roles of institutions in the mining sector governance structure and ensure that there is no duplication in institutional roles and functions.
The Ministry of Justice is finalizing the draft law for external stakeholder consultations before submitting it to this August Chamber for further review and approval,” Mbawala said.
But a mining activist, Paul Mvula, who works as a program officer with the Church and Society program of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, has called for the speedy establishment of a mining company and a mining authority, saying the mining sector in Malawi needs maximum support from these two institutions.
“It is sad that huge funding tends to go to consumer ministries and not money-generating ministries like mining. Illegal mining and uncoordinated small-scale mining have grown across the country. countries with little or no benefit to the general economy Illegal smuggling of precious minerals has gone unchecked resulting in the loss of billions of dollars,” Mvula said in an interview.
Meanwhile, Mbawala also told Parliament that the Ministry of Mines continues to facilitate the processing and review of mining concession applications for the growth and development of the mining sector.
According to the minister, from July 1, 2021 to date, the ministry has issued 48 new large-scale mining exploration permits, 19 retention permits, 5 medium and large-scale mining permits, 322 mining permits small-scale (66 of which are gold mining licenses) and 420 reserved mineral licenses.
Mbawala added that a number of international and local companies continue to be actively engaged in mineral exploration, mine development and extraction of various minerals.
He said the main mined minerals largely include: rock aggregates, limestone, coal and gemstones.
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