Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has said it will not renew the operating licence of Ilomba Mining Company in Chitipa when it expires this June.
Speaking at a meeting in Chitipa on Saturday, Deputy Minister of Nataural Resources, Energy and Mining Mwangasula Mwambande said the mining firm has no respect for communities and government cannot accept its operations to continue.
The meeting was between concerned businesspersons in the district and government represented by five Cabinet ministers.
He said it was the company’s mandate to meet the agreement made with the communities.
Said Mwambande: “The current government puts welfare of its people at the forefront.
“But it is surprising that the company does not care about the welfare of the communities and in no way can we renew their mining license once it gets expired in June this year.”
The other Cabinet ministers present at the meeting were Minister of Health and Population Jappie Mhango, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Minister of Transport and Public Works Ralph Jooma and Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology and Mark Botomani.
The meeting was convened as a way of defusing tension where the people in the district have for the past days been involved in demonstrations.
Ilomba Mining Limited executive director Jou Chanhe refused to comment on the issue when contacted.
At the meeting, government promised to upgrade to bitumen standard Mbilima Road that connects to Tanzania.
The community members recently demanded the closure of a Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) office, arguing that government should first construct the said Mbilima Road.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson for Chitipa Sydney Simwaka said they will not stop holding demonstrations if government does not address their concerns.
On his part, Botomani reminded people in Karonga, Chitipa and Mzuzu to always seek dialogue on all matters that they want government to address. Traditional Authority Kameme commended the ministers for coming up with the meeting, which he said will help to preserve peace in the country.