Lack of transparency in the country’s mining sector has been cited as one of the reason most Malawians do not benefit from mines situated in their own areas, a Millennium Information and Resource Centre (Mirece) report has indicated.
Mirece is a Kasungu-based membership community organisation formed to address the plight of Malawians on human rights and social development.
The organisation is implementing a two-year project, Liwu Laeni Nthaka which focuses on rights of the people on mining and land.
The project is also aimed at creating a better understanding between investors and citizens surrounding mining industries and promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.
According to the statement signed by chairperson of the group the Reverend Flywell Somanje, there is need for the country to review the legal policy and institutional framework governing the mining sector to enable ordinary Malawians to benefit from minerals.
“What we want to see is at least 10 percent of the profits being made by companies operating in various mines in the country being channelled back to the society as part of their corporate and social responsibilities. It is sad that in areas surrounding mines there is no tangible development, yet companies make profits,” said Somanje.
He said government, the civil society and the mining companies need to engage each other to amicably resolve differences.
“There is a lot of environmental degradation taking place in various mining sites and this is one area that needs urgent attention. In terms of treatment of waste products which results in water and air pollution, a lasting solution must be found because the environment is being destroyed,” said Somanje.
According to several mining reports, Malawi sits on significant reserves of coal and uranium and it is believed that it also possesses some of the largest rare earth deposits in Africa.