Natural Justice Network Pushes for Beneficial Mining Deals
The Natural Resource Justice Network says it is anticipating that government’s decision to issue 48 new large-scale licenses for mining exploration will help create more jobs for Malawians.
The network’s chairperson Kossam Munthali says to achieve this, the government should avoid putting politicians in leading roles in mining projects in the country.
The network is a grouping of civil society organisations working towards making the mining sector beneficial to all citizens.
Munthali says the issuance of the new licenses is a good development but urged the government to be transparent in negotiating all deals with the prospective miners.
“The government should continue updating Malawians and avoid secrecy hovering around negotiating such deals; learning from the past, we have a tendency where we put politicians to be guiding the processes, I think that has been a missed opportunity,” he said.
Economist Hopkins Kawaye says his worry is that the industry benefits only a few, a situation which has not helped the country.
Kawaye is of the view that policies guiding the mining sector should be reviewed so that Malawi reaps from the sector.
“My advice is that there have to be policies that are put in place that ensure that all positives that are coming from mining trickle down and benefit Malawians, not only those who are close to mining sites … [the income] should also contribute to the full revenue that Malawi collects from that,” added Kawaye.
Statistics indicate mining contributes 0.8 percent of the country’s economy.
In a statement read in parliament on Monday, the Ministry of Mining said it had issued 48 new mineral exploration licenses to large-scale miners and 322 licenses to small-scale miners.
There have been concerns that major mining projects in the country, like the Kayerekera Uranium in Karonga, have not benefited the country economically due to poorly-negotiated deals.
(By Aness Mwale-ZBS)