Chiefs want training before oil exploration

 

Traditional leaders in Karonga have asked oil and gas explorers to train communities along the shoreline of Lake Malawi to take part in the search and extractive phase.

Speaking when Hamra Oil Holdings briefed them about the search for oil and gas on Friday, village heads said they do not want a repeat of what happened at Kayelekera Uranium Mine, now in maintenance and care mode, where few local artisans are employed during mineral exploration and mining.

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“We are not happy with what happened at Kayelekera. Most artisans came from elsewhere while Karonga residents were waiting in vain for the same employment opportunities. Before this oil and gas exploration, the investors should train local people in mining issues. This will increase their chances to be employed when they start extracting what they want,” said group village head Jenkins Mwandwanga

Mwandwanga also asked for assurances that the oil and gas industry will not endanger lives of people and aquatic creatures, especially fish.

In an interview, Hamra representative Green Malunga said the demands show that people are anxious to benefit from exploitation of natural resources in their localities.

“This is why government has come up with a new bill which will ensure that a certain percentage of the benefits realised from the resources is shared with the communities through the district councils. This will reduce misunderstandings,” he said.

The airborne exploration for oil and gas deposits in Lake Malawi is expected to start this month and end in December. n

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