RBM sees mining growth at 5.8%

Mining and quarrying sectors are projected to grow by 5.8 percent in 2020 up from the current 3.6 percent projection this year, a figure which is higher than 2.1 percent estimated in 2018.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Financial and Economic Review for the second quarter of 2019 indicates that there is an expected growth in quarrying activities in line with increased construction works.

Exploration works in progress for rare earths at Songwe Hills in Phalombe

The central bank attributed the growth in the mining sector to  increased revenue from Kasikizi Coal Mine and limestone mining in Mangochi coupled with graphite exploration works at Malingunde in Lilongwe.

Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining spokesperson Sangwani Phiri on Monday agreed with the growth projections, saying it could largely be attributed to the mushrooming of small-scale mining activities in the country.

He, however, said most of them are informal; hence, the ministry is working to ensure that small-scale miners form cooperatives to formalise their businesses.

He said: “We could achievethe growth because there are many small-scale miners operating on the ground.

“We will help them with the capacity to polish up their stones for value addition to increase their incomes from the trade.”

Phiri expressed optimism that growth in the mining sector would be enhanced once several big mining  firms finalise exploration works.

Mining expert Grain Malunga, writing in recent Mining and Trade Review said Malawi’s economy needs to graduate from tertiary to secondary industry through proper planning and realising full benefits of economic diversification.

He said the country imports mineral-based commodities such as lime, fertiliser, ceramic products, coal and steel that can be produced locally to promote import substitution and save foreign exchange.

He said: “We import fertiliser when we can manufacture our own through locally-based minerals such as rock phosphate and pyrite.

“We continue to import ceramic products such as sanitary ware and tiles when we have clays. We continue to export scrap metal instead of recycling to metal products such as reinforcement steel and flat metal sheets,” he said.

Malunga bemoaned the exclusion of the minerals sector in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) as a key priority sector, saying this slows progress that was gained in MGDS II when the sector saw generation of geo-scientific information necessary to trigger exploration activities in the mining sector.

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