Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of Karonga Diocese desk officer Louis Nkhata has urged people of Katumbi Village in Senior Chief Kilupula to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with mining investors.
The officer said this on Friday in the district during a meeting with community members to appreciate challenges they are facing from mining investors.
Said Nkhata: “Community members should have a good relationship with investors to have a fair share of proceedings from mining activities.
“This can be achieved if there are legal documents to guide them.”
However, during the meeting, one of the workers at C and M Coal Mine, who pleaded for anonymity, said the company has not paid them their wages.
The claim was corroborated by group village head Katumbi.
“The company has failed to fulfil some of its promises. It also has not paid its workers,” she said.
The chief also accused the company of dumping coal residues into Changwina River.
On his part, the community and company’s mediator Lenford Chawinga said they want school blocks at Kafulu Primary School, rehabilitation of Pusi-Kasantha Road and a waste disposal site.
In a separate interview, C and M Coal Mine general manager John Ndhlovu confirmed that they have not paid workers May wages.
He said: “But we will pay them soon. On school blocks, we have bought 50 bags of cement and 150 000 bricks for construction works.
“Again, the Department of Environmental Affairs inspected the waste management site and what we are waiting for is just a licence.”
However, Karonga district environmental officer Khumbo Mbeye denied visiting the site for assessment.
With funding from Oxfam Australia, Oxfam in Malawi through CCJP is running an Extractives Project in Chitipa, Karonga and Rumphi districts.