Mineral expert Grain Malunga says government and stakeholders need to sensitise the masses about policies and guidelines governing the extractive industry.
Speaking on the sidelines of a consultative meeting with the Nkhotakota District Executive Committee (DEC) organised by US-based Hamra Oil Holdings, Malunga said there is information gap on steps that are followed before oil and gas exploration licences are awarded.
He said: “To explore for a mineral up to a level it has to be extracted, it takes between 7 and 15 years.”
Malunga said information gathered from exploration is used to determine the mineral quantity and areas where they can zero in.
“If people are not properly informed about the mining, they may think that drilling of the minerals is happening,” he said.
Hamra Oil Holdings was scheduled to undertake a month-long geological mapping but the DEC has put it on hold until an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) is done.
District fisheries officer (DFO) Rodgers Makwinja asked the Hamra Oil Limited delegation if they have put in place measures to protect biodiversity.
Hamra Oil Limited engineer Arif Ali Azun assured that they have taken into consideration all measures to protect the environment.