The parliamentary committee on natural resources is recommending a suspension of all mining activities in the country until the ministry responsible comes up with proper mechanisms of managing the industry.
The committee points out that mining activities in Malawi are in a bad shape where available legal instruments are not being followed.
Key reasons according to Chairperson for the committee, Welani Chilenga, are failure to end illegal mining and corruption among some officials in the ministry of mining citing events at Ilomba Mining Company as an immediate example.
“In as far as illegal mining is involved, as a committee we have recommended that all mining activities should be suspended forthwith until the ministry of mining puts the house in order.
“We passed the Mines and Minerals Act in December 2019 but up to now they are failing to implement it,” said Chilenga.
He further added that failure to regulate the industry gives space to foreigners to come to Malawi and conduct their trade in a manner that will rob the country of its resources.
Commenting in his part, Principal Secretary in the ministry of mining, Joseph Munthali pleaded with the parliamentary committee to be patient with the matter and observe the initiatives lined up for revamping the sector.
He hinted on intentions of the ministry to bring together artisanal small-scale miners into manageable cooperatives.
“We believe that in togetherness, we can bring an impact because training them in cooperatives works better than individuals when we want to achieve responsible mining and environmental protection,” Munthali explained.
He has however disagreed with the parliamentary committee’s suggestion of shutting down mining operations saying the act would cause more harm than good.
“If you suspend mining for the medium and large scale, we may lose out on fees and loyalties which also feed into the national budget that was passed by Parliament,” he added.
Munthali believes fastening up remedies to the challenges noted would be the best solution.
The meeting between the stakeholders was held at Parliament with leaders of CSOs, police, ministry of mining and National parks and wildlife.