Malawi Minister of Youth and Sports Development Grace Chiumia has said the ministry will champion plans to introduce more youths in mining activities as one way of reducing unemployment in the country.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a two-day youth conference organised by Innovative Mind Consultants in Lilongwe, Chiumia said the ministry will ensure that more youths get licences to embark on small-scale mining activities.
Innovative Mind Consultants is a consulting firm formed by the former inspector general of police Lot Dzonzi.
“Early next year, I will sit down with other officials from the ministries of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining and Education to see how we can bring more young men and women into mining.
“What happened in Salima recently where three people died doing illegal mining is very sad. If mining was properly regulated, we could have avoided such accidents,” said Chiumia.
To ensure that only eligible youths are involved in mining activities, Chiumia said only fresh graduates who have completed their secondary or tertiary studies will be involved in the pilot phase.
“We do not want a scenario where children quit school to go into mining; hence, our decision to involve the Ministry of Education. We are optimistic that with mineral prospects in most parts of the country, this can be an area which can help reduce unemployment,” she said.
Chiumia, said her ministry, with funding from United Nations Children Fund (Unicef), has embarked on agri-business projects aimed at helping the youth take farming as a business.
Dzonzi, who is managing director of the firm challenged Malawi universities to introduce studies in mining because it will be easy to incorporate fresh graduates in contractual mining if they get the knowledge from college.
Malawi Watch executive director Billy Banda commended government for planning to involve youths in mining activities.
“Malawi is endowed with a lot of mineral resources and this industry is worth billions of kwacha. What we want to see is a proper organisation of the youth so that they can form associations which can be easily assisted by financial institutions,” he said.
Government is yet to release results of airborne geophysical survey, which could give an indication of how endowed with mineral resources Malawi is.