Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira says mining is still Malawi Government’s priority sector to transform the country’s economy.
The minister said this last week at Songwe Hills in Phalombe where Mkango Resources Limited, a Canadian dual-listed mineral exploration and development company, is exploring rare earths.
“As witnessed over the years, tobacco is facing global challenges due to the anti-smoking lobby instituted by the World Health Organisation [WHO].
“This means as a country, we cannot continue to rely on the crop as a foreign exchange earner,” said Kutsaira.
He said the advancement of the Songwe Hill project offers hope to Malawi as chances of having an operational rare earth mine in the near future are high, with a lot of benefits through job creation and business opportunities.
Kutsaira advised the company to continue engaging government and communities on the results of its feasibility studies.
On his part, the miner’s president Alex Lemon said since 2010 when the exploration works started, results have been positive.
“We look forward to announcing further exciting results from the ongoing bankable feasibility studies in due course,” he said.
Lemon said the drilling exercise, which the company conducted last year, produced good results that gave a 60 percent increase in the measured and indicated resource.
He said the miner is banking on the future planned ban of the use of diesel and petrol vehicles in Europe for a sustainable supply of rare earths. “Rare earths particularly neodinium, praesadynium, dysprosium and terbium which are all present at Songwe Hill are used in the production of high strength magnets,” he said