Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change has given Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining four weeks to come up with regulations on mining.
Committee chairperson Werani Chilenga said lack of the regulations is making offenders of illegal mining walk free, costing government millions of kwacha.
“We have given them up to December to come up with the regulations because they have been telling us the song of soon for quite long.
“Government is losing out because there is too much illegal mining taking place. For instance, in Namizimu Forest in Mangochi, the country is losing K5 million a day, K150 million a month and K1.5 billion in 10 months which is a lot of money,” he said.
Chilenga also said responses from the ministry have not been convincing; hence, they will keep on imploring them.
The committee members noted that lack of proper regulations on the Mining Act which was passed into law in 2018, but became operational last September has contributed to misconceptions which drives people into illegal mining.
Committee vice-chairperson Halima Daudi asked the ministry officials to brief the committee on the results of the geo physical survey the country carried in 2014.
She said there was speculation that some foreign nationals and Malawians of Asian origin were buying land where they have been tipped that mineral deposits exist.
The ministry admitted that information on the findings of the survey was not widely known but they released the results to the public.
Principal Secretary Patrick Matanda said his ministry will devise new ways to disseminate information on geo physical mapping exercise, following public outcry of lack of knowledge on the results.
He said: “We understand that people are not aware of the results of the survey and this is increasing the public perception that illegal mining is being fuelled because of the same, so, we will have to restrategise and increase awareness so that we can make the results of the survey reach out to many.”
On drafting of regulations to go with the Mining Act, Matanda told the committee that they have finalised the drafting and they will hand them to the ministry of justice for approval.
In October last year, Malawi Defence Force (MDF) rounded up 118 illegal miners in Namizimu Forest Reserve, consisting of 84 Malawians, 31 Mozambicans, two Tanzanians and a Congolese from DRC.
The ministry decried the court sentences it described as lenient, saying the convicts returned to the forest.