A Mining Company Wants Rutile Mining Operations Halted
A local mining company Yami Gemstone Lab and Exports Pvt Limited-YAGLE has advised government to suspend all rutile mining operations at Kasiya in Lilongwe, until good policies that can benefit the country are put in place.
The company’s founder who is also a gemologist Yamikani Jimusole says unless a cross-section of stakeholders is assembled to discuss the matter, for as indicated, the country as the largest global custodian of rutile will not benefit from it.
Jimusole added that assuming that the government has handled this well especially on grading system, the mine can earn the country billions and lift it out of poverty, thus all operations should be suspended for now.
“If we can not work on some things such as the grading system, and continue exporting raw minerals, we will keep losing money. There is a need to set up mining offices at district level to ably oversee the operations so that we do not get raw deals”, says Jimusole, a gemologist himself.
He adds that since 2013, YAGLE has been researching and exploring, and discovered that the country has different kinds of minerals including rose quartz, sapphire, rubies, and aqua-marines which can benefit Malawians with good mining policies in place.
However, Minister of Mining Dr. Albert Mbawala has dispelled the company’s fears, saying the government is following international mining protocols, even before stakeholders are yet to be involved.
Dr. Mbawala says that the government is yet to sign a mining agreement with Sovereign Metals which has been tasked with exploration works.
“There is no mine at Kasiya. We have not signed any mining deal with Sovereign Metals, and until 2025 or thereabout, Malawians should not panic because the government is handling the issue carefully”, he says.
He further says, “There is a law guiding mining in the country. Why then is the company not coming to discuss with us at the ministry? The problem with Malawians is fear, they fear that they may lose but they should trust that the government is using the standard practice that is used globally”.
He further says that the Government through the Ministry of Finance has done calculations on the rutile mining, and that at some point, different stakeholders and experts will be involved.
Meanwhile, a mining expert Grain Malunga says it is surprising that some Malawians are raising concerns now when only exploration works are being done, adding that there are no meaningful stakeholders in Malawi that can meaningfully contribute to sustainable development of the mineral sector.
“It’s unfortunate that Malawians comment on things they do not know or are not aware of. There are prospects for a mine at Kasiya, and not a mine. So, there is no need to rush and comment on things that are not there. Currently, the Australian company Sovereign Metals is doing exploration works. We have sought these people from Australia, Canada, they are experts and have money to do the work,” he said.
He added that there are no stakeholders in Malawi in mining who can meaningfully contribute to sustainable development of the mineral sector, and that there are more benefits from the taxes and revenue from the mining.