Since independence, Malawians has lived to believe that economy of the country is agriculture, many people know that the major contributing factor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is agriculture and nothing else.
With this mindset all efforts as far as increasing the GDP are put to agriculture, yet there are more ways as a country we can get rich and increase the GDP through exploring other methods.
Learning from neighbouring countries, one discovers that the countries do not only rely on agriculture but have other sectors which bring their GDP like the mining sector which Malawi doesn’t utilise fully.
A lot of Malawians flocked to countries like South Africa in the past years to work in the gold mines as a way of searching for greener pastures as it was reported that working in the mines one gets rich as soon as they complete their piece of work in a given time.
Fifty years down the independence line, the mining sector in Malawi hasn’t been utilised and explored as it is expected, little attention has been paid to it.
One wonders how can Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, countries surrounding Malawi have minerals whilst Malawi hasn’t, this is why the Ministry of Natural resources Energy and Mines carried out a country wide geophysical survey which is 98 percent complete to uncover the potential of the mining sector.
For the past years Malawi has been known of mining coal and some small minerals like gemstone at small scale until Paladin Came explored Uranium in Karonga district and opened a mine which contributed a lot of money to the country’s GDP but has since been closed as the company bemoans decline of profits in the sale of the commodity on the international market.
If developed and fully utilized, the mining sector in the country can contribute a lot to the economic status as Atupele Muluzi, Minister of Mines talked to Malawi news agency how the sector can be developed to boost the country’s economy.
Atupele said if mining can be prioritised it can contribute over 20 percent to the economy.
“Malawi is richly endowed with high value mineral resources which constitute an important source of wealth for development and foreign exchange, it therefore governments wish to prioritize the exploration of minerals if we are to increase the percentage minerals can bring to the economy,” he said.
According to raw data collected in the on-going geophysical survey, the data is promising that at the end of the survey something good will emerge.
Atupele said his ministry will try every effort to explore mining in large scale and make sure that the sector promotes gender balance and the reforms being made in the current mining act should involve the promotion of small scale miners.
Currently the country uses the Mines and Minerals Act of 1981 which some CSOs and other stakeholders has described as out dated as it is not in tandem with the present mining boom in Malawi.
The use of this outdated act has received outcries from the general public including CSOs who are question the aunthencity of the act as it restricts the flow of information hence putting the people in the dark on the mining sector.
According to Atupele his ministry as part of showing commitment has organized a series of symposium aimed at reviewing the outdated act from July 16 and 17 in Lilongwe.
“We plan to have the reviewed legislation implemented before the end of the year with the projected dates with the theme mineral resources for social economic development,” he said.
The minister said after the review is implemented, government will ensure that future mining contracts are properly negotiated to maximise benefits for the country and government will establish an independent contract negotiating unit in extractive resources and subscribe to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.