Government has refused to renew Illomba Granite Company (IGC) mining license until the company gets community consent.
The company runs Illomba Granite Mine in Chitipa District.
In an interview yesterday, IGC director Faisal Hassen argues that when he was asked to present the agreement, he did, but has been told that it does not have the required number of signatures.
Secretary for Mining Joseph Mkandawire yesterday said the Mineral Resources Committee rejected to renew the licence because of the company’s failure to seek the community’s approval.
“We cannot renew the mining licence until they get consent from the community. It is the community that has to approve mining activity in the area. But in the absence of community consent, it is difficult to grant a licence,” he said.
Mkandawire said government does not have other interested investors for the mine site at the moment.
“IGC is the legitimate occupant of that place, and in terms of the law, there is no way you can give it to another company when there is already somebody. But they must get a consent from the community to get the licence renewed,” he said.
But Hassen accused some government officials, who he claimed want to frustrate his mining business.
He said: “On 29th November 2019, at the Mineral Resource Committee meeting, the application for renewal of licence was tabled and approved, but [the officials] refused to sign the licence because we refused to pay the bribe of $300 000 [about K200 million].
“Then they said we need a new community agreement, and we submitted it. But now they are saying this new agreement is not good enough because there are not many signatures. Some chiefs refused to sign because they are against us, and I told them we cannot have all signatures.”
Chitipa civil society network chairperson Sydney Simwaka, who has been helping the community at Mbilima—where the mine is located—on the matter said they welcome government’s decision.
IGC licence was first issued on June 28 1988. It was renewed in 1995 and expired on June 28 2020.