The European Union (EU) has said the consolidation of critical geophysical data is important for increasing the country’s knowledge of the mining sector.
EU Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann said this in Zomba on Friday during a project site visit in EU-funded Mining and Governance Support Project (MGGSP) implemented by the Geological Survey Department (GSD) in Zomba.
The project focuses on support towards mining skills and knowledge, support towards department of mines as well as consolidation of critical geophysical data among other thematic areas.
Gerrmann said as the project is going to an end, EU is encouraged with the significant efforts GSD has made in the project.
“Investment in mining is a real opportunity for Malawi’s development. This can be achieved if this project is managed efficiently and effectively,” he said.
Gerrmann reminded authorities on the importance of the review of the Mines and Minerals Act of 1981, stressing that the review will significantly contribute to modernising the mining sector in Malawi.
According to the 2017 Malawi Government Annual Economic Report, a review of the Mines and Minerals Act, 1981 was done to make it resonant with the modern Mines and Minerals Policy and the Mines and Minerals Bill is being vetted by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs before it can be tabled in Parliament.
“The review process for the mining legislation has taken long since it needed to be given a thorough and correct dose of inputs and analyses from a broad spectrum of mineral sector stakeholders across the country with a view to ensuring that it veritably reflects authentic hopes and aspirations of all Malawians and investors,” reads the report in part.
Mineral sector contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) has dropped from around 10 percent when Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga was operational to around one percent.
In the 2016/17 fiscal year, the mining sector grew by 1.6 percent.
GSD director Jalf Salima said the department is committed to sustaining the project.
He said miners will be able to access mining and minerals information online compared to previous years when miners had to travel to Zomba to access geological information they wanted.
“Our goal is to ensure that most Malawians invest in mining industry as mining has the potential to boost the economy,” he said. n