Foreign investors interested in Malawi mining industry
BY Anthony Kasunda05:50:46 - 21 February 2006
Ministry of Mines, Natural Resources and Environment says some foreign investors had shown interest and commitment to explore Malawi’s potential in the mining industry.Deputy Minister Jimmy Banda said this on arrival from African Mining Partnership (AMP) in South Africa, adding about 30 ministers resolved to promote artisanal and small-scale mining.Banda said Malawi had mineral deposits in a number of areas that could provide opportunity to those who want to seriously venture into mining.He said Malawi delegation took advantage of the meeting to discuss with other government officials and international mining companies to assist develop the country’s mining sector.“Discussions with member states centred on capacity building, training and exchange programmes,” he said. “One company has already submitted an application for an exploration licence in Malawi.”Banda said he held discussions with managers of, among other institutions; The British Geological Survey, MINTEK, Energem, SDV Transami of South Africa, Omega Corp of Australia, Mine Africa of Canada and BRGM of France.The deputy minister, however, said there was threat by European Union member states to stop buying minerals from Africa, a move he said would stifle the continent’s economies.Banda said the threat by EU to close market for African minerals by September had sent shivers in mining countries, including Malawi.A Cape Town communiqué made available by the ministry says EU countries were concerned with health and environmental degradation mining was causing.Banda said an agreement was made to lobby EU to ensure that Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (Reach) have no negative impact on African countries.He said it was agreed that a sustainable mining strategy that addresses health and safety and environmental hazards should be developed.“The issue of finding an alternative market in Asia was discussed but it was turned down,” he said. “It was resolved that we use our parliaments and Commonwealth Parliament to lobby EU to continue buying our minerals.”The deputy minister said there was fear among participants that the close of EU market would result in loss of employment in both private and public sectors.“The meeting also reiterated their commitment to pursuing ways in which mining and minerals industry can significantly contribute to poverty reduction and eradication,” he said.