Community members around Namizimu Forest in Traditional Authority Makanjira in Mangochi have asked government to involve them when sending mining companies to the area.
Group village head Saiti Mwasungu made the call on Monday during a mining sector review meeting organised by Malawi Justice Economic Network (Mejn).
He said: “We ask government to stop sending companies to Namizimu without involving chiefs.
“Our areas are developing gullies. Lake Malawi is being silted and aquatic life affected because of mining. Instead of us benefiting from the precious stones God gave us, we are facing these problems.”
On his part, Mangochi District Civil Society Organisations Network chairperson Joseph Makwakwa expressed dissatisfaction with how mining activities are conducted.
He faulted government for sending individuals or companies to extract samples of minerals for testing.
Said Makwakwa: “They take tonnes of samples saying they are taking them to laboratories in Australia, China and South Africa.
“By the time they start mining activities, they are already millionaires at the expense of community members.”
He has since asked government to decentralise the mining sector for communities to benefit.
In his response, Ministry of Mining chief mining engineer George Maneya said he will relay the people’s concerns to the ministry.
In his remarks, Mejn director of programmes Richard Chiputula said they want communities around mining sites to benefit from the activities.
With support from the Norwegian Church Aid and Dan Church Aid, the organisation is implementing Fighting Social and Economic Inequalities in Education, Health, Social Security and Extractive Sectors Project in the district.