The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change chairperson Welani Chilenga says the country is losing about K25 million per day through illegal mining, translating to about K9.1 billion per annum.
In an interview yesterday, he said the Department of Mining is losing about K5 million a day from illegal mining at Namizimu Forest in Mangochi.
Said Chilenga: “When we average that with what is happening at Malingunde in Lilongwe, Pelekezi in Mzimba, Kasungu and Nkhotakota, as a country we are losing not less than K25 million per day.
“This is due to the fact that government is not implementing the Mines and Minerals Act of 2019 which has punitive measures.”
He noted that buyers of the minerals are foreigners who sneak out of the country with the precious stones without government collecting royalties as the miners do not have licences.
Minister of Mining Rashid Gaffer asked for more time before commenting on the matter.
But economic analyst Donasius Pathera observed that it was an eye-opener for Malawians that the country has resources it needs to boost its economy.
He said: “Malawi is losing a lot of revenue through the underground economy. Mining is an important sector and there is need to revisit the regulations.
“Considering that the country has effected the ATI [Access to Information], Malawians need to know what is in the contracts between government and the miners.”
In his speech on Sunday, President Lazarus Chakwera outlined how mining can transform the country’s economy and the steps his administration will take to push forward a vision of industrialisation in the country.
He said: “When the founders of Malawi said that ‘Chuma chiri m’nthaka’, it was assumed that it meant our country’s only wealth was our fertile soil and its potential for crop production. We now know that this view is incorrect.
“We know that there is more wealth in our land than meets the eye, a wealth of untapped mineral capital. I stand before you today to say that the time has come to restructure our country ’s monolithic agro-based economy.”