RBM Struggling to Buy Gold From Artisans

In May 2021, the RBM started buying gold grains from local Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASMs) hotspots across the country In May 2021, the RBM started buying gold grains from local Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASMs) hotspots across the country - file photo

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) says it is facing competition in buying gold from artisanal miners who are also selling directly to foreigners and smuggling some of it outside the country.

RBM spokesperson, Dr. Mark Lungu told Zodiak Online on Wednesday, apart from that most gold artisans do not have required machinery to scale up their mining processes, foreigners are dominating the market.

"The challenge is that we are facing competition as we try to buy this gold from the miners from foreigners, and that means part of it is smuggled outside of the country," he said.

In May 2021, the RBM started buying gold grains from local Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASMs) hotspots across the country following a public outcry that Malawi was losing gold worth millions of dollars through smuggling by foreign buyers.

However, it has transpired that up to date the bank through its subsidiary, Export Development Fund-EDF has bought slightly 200kgs of gold which have been purified to 125 kilograms.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lungu mentioned that responsible ministry and other law enforcement agencies are on the ground to close the gaps.

Programs coordinator for Natural Resources Justice Network, Joy Chabwera thinks the country lacks a structured gold market as currently the RBM has no control due to infestation of foreigners and political cartels.

"The market has been controlled by vendors who offer a higher amount that the Reserve bank cannot catch up with. The illegal mining sector has grown so much and it's being controlled politically," he said.

Chabwera alleged: "It becomes a cartel such that any intervention by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to control foreigners from buying the gold, there are always some orders from above."

Malawi has reported a gold rush in several areas including Matapila and Chiwamba in Lilongwe, Balaka, Machinga, Kasungu, Nkhata Bay, Lisungwe in Ntcheu, Namizimu forest in Mangochi and Nsanje.

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