Disagreements between communities and investors at Ilomba Granite Mine Company in Chitipa refuse to cease as angry villagers around the company on Wednesday cut electricity supply cables and set ablaze two shelters.
The people are protesting against Chitipa District Council’s refusal to close the mine.
Communities in the area are worried over the investors’ alleged lack of commitment to implement corporate social responsibility.
Group village head (GVH) Mbilima recently wrote discrict commissioner (DC) Humphreys Gondwe requesting him to immediately close the mine, saying communities were surprised to see the investors mining without meeting the community’s demands.
“We, therefore, would like to request the closure of the mine with immediate effect before Wednesday,’’ reads part of the letter dated December 9.
But in his response, Gondwe refused to adhere to the demands, saying the only public officer who has authority to close the mine is the director of mines.
“As GVH Mbilima, you do not have power under the Mines Act to close any mine in Chitipa. Your duty as GVH Mbilima is to help the DC administer the area you are holding and ensure that people live in peace,’’ the letter from the DC reads.
Recently, the mine was closed after community members seized a loaded truck with granite minerals, but it was later released after the two parties discussed the matter.
The mine is operated by Chinese investors but licensed to a Malawian named Fisal Hassan who started operations in the area in 1995.