A month after the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining said artisanal and small-scale mining is not allowed in the country, Blantyre City Council (BCC) has banned sand panning and moulding and burning bricks.
BCC public relations manager Anthony Kasunda confirmed in an interview that sand mining and moulding and burning of bricks in Blantyre is prohibited.
Kasunda said: “We are reminding residents that sand mining and moulding and burning of bricks within the city is prohibited by law. The council is warning the public that it will be enforcing the law.”
He said that the council has issued the ban because of the increase of cases of sand mining and moulding and burning of bricks in the city.
“We have noted with regret the increase in cases of sand mining and moulding and burning of bricks within the city,” said Kasunda.
He added that culprits will have to pay the costs that the council may incur in the process of enforcement.
In reaction to the ban, some small-scale miners expressed worry over the move, complaining that sand mining is their only source of money.
“We could have appreciated if the council located places where it will restrict the mining not the whole Blantyre. The places where we get this sand are places that we cannot hinder anyone. We only do this to feed our families but if they say they will punish us for working hard to feed our families, then we do not know what else we can do,” said a small-scale miner interviewed around Kwacha Roundabout.
The council has confirmed that it will just enforce the law without providing any alternative to those involved in sand mining and moulding and burning of bricks.