Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) general secretary the Reverend Dr. Osborne Mbewe says there is need for mining investors to engage communities surrounding mining and mineral exploration sites to ensure transparency and accountability in all mineral extraction activities in the country.
Mbewe was speaking recently in Ntcheu when he opened a two-day training for MCC Tonse Tipindule Community Mobilisation Committees on Mining Policy with the goal of empowering communities to be engaging mining investors and government to ensure that mining activities contribute to the development of rural communities.
He said the Church has been silent on mining issues and as such, communities have been left behind.
“It is high time the Church started talking about mineral extraction operations in the country. Communities have not been able to follow up such activities as such the operations do not benefit local communities,” said Mbewe.
He said communities need to be familiar with the mining policy so that they can demand what they deserve from mining operations.
“After creation, God entrusted everything to human beings for their livelihoods. Mineral deposits are meant for the benefit of everyone; hence, the need for transparency and accountability in extraction operations,” Mbewe said.
He said in most cases, investors take advantage of communities’ ignorance by embarking on mineral exploration without the consent or knowledge of the communities.
Mbewe appealed to government to revise the mining policy for it to be inclusive of all relevant stakeholders, including communities surrounding mining sites.
Participants to the training who were drawn from traditional authorities Phambala, Ganya, Mpando, senior chiefs Makwangwala and Kwataine, expressed concern that some traditional leaders connive with mining investors to be operating in their areas without their knowledge.
Some of the participants said they suspect that there are many corrupt activities involving traditional leaders and investors which in some cases have led to community members losing their land to investors.