Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Aggrey Masi has said government is committed to revamping the country’s mining sector to ensure that it contributes towards sustainable economic growth.
The minister said this on Friday when he toured Songwe Hill in Phalombe where Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX)-listed Mkango Resources Limited of Canada is exploring for rare earth metals.
“We are doing a lot. At the moment we have the Mines and Minerals Bill which has already gone through the Cabinet committee and is expected to go to Parliament in November for debate and passing.
“There ministry is also doing a lot to ensure that there is sanity in the mining industry and that everything is done according to the law. There is no way miners can go away with what belongs to Malawi without government knowing,” said Masi.
He dismissed assertions that most foreign miners are duping the country by exploiting and externalising valuable minerals on the pretext that they are taking samples for laboratory testing outside the country.
The miner’s president and founding director Alexander Lemon said the firm is currently implementing advanced drilling at a minimum of 5 000 metres which is expected to end by September this year.
He said the firm has identified rare earths at the site, emphasising that all the drilling is not mining yet.
Lemon said the company, which has been exploring for rare earths for about seven years, completed a pre-feasibility study in 2015 and is running a final draw programme whose results will form a bankable feasibility study to be completed by the end of 2019.
He said Mkango Resources has invested over $34 million (about K24 billion) at Songwe Hill since the project started and intends to invest a further $220 million (about K161 billion) for the construction of a mine.