Malawi to license artisanal, small-scale miners

Small-scale miners such as this one will soon have to be licensed by govt
Small-scale miners such as this one will soon have to be licensed by govt

Malawi Government has ordered all artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) to be licensed and that their mining activities should be regularly monitored and inspected.

Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Atupele Muluzi said this is one way of transforming the industry into a formal subsector to contribute meaningfully to the country’s economic development.

“We should endeavour to organise a formal market for ASM, especially for gemstones. We need to begin to add value to our gemstones through polishing and cutting here in Malawi. In this way, we will realise optimal benefits from the ASM,” he said in Lilongwe.

Mining experts argue that ASM subsector has the potential to make a robust contribution to the country’s revenue buffer, create jobs for rural communities, spur development and contribute greatly to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) if they are helped to operate in an organised way.

Muluzi also ordered that all ASM operations should be conducted in accordance with applicable safety and security requirements and should safeguard the well-being of the environment.

“All operations in this subsector should be held to the highest standards of transparency and accountability,” he said.

Muluzi warned that those who fail to comply will have their licences revoked.

On capacity building, he encouraged players in the ASM subsector to ensure they aggressively market their activities and attend mining international indabas outside the country.

President of Malawi Women in Mining (Mawima) Emma Adams hailed government for coming up with the mining policy, which she said will help create conducive environment for small-scale miners.

Malawi’s mining sector this year contracted by 7.8 percent, following the temporally closure of the main Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga and the sector is forecast to continue growing at a snail’s pace in 2015, according to the 2014 Malawi Annual Economic Report.

“The growth of this sector was estimated at 7.6 percent in 2013 from14.9 percent in 2012,” said the report.

Prior to venture at Kayelekera in Karonga, the mining sector contributed around three percent to GDP and the sector now appears headed for a slow growth of 2.2 percent in 2015.

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