Robust mining communication strategy on the cards

Driven by the need to scale up communication flow in the mining sector, government is currently in the process of developing a mining communication strategy.

Speaking during a stakeholders meeting in Blantyre last week, the ministry’s public relations officer Levi Undi said currently, there are many players in the mining sector, something which makes it difficult to balance the interests.

Mining activities are taking centre stage in Malawi
Mining activities are taking centre stage in Malawi

“The strategy aims to address such a challenge. We believe with continuous flow of correct mining-related information through the strategy, we will be able to harmonise issues coming from different interest groups such as the business community, civil society and communities,” he said.

In an interview, Undi also clarified what other commentators had argued during the meeting regarding the assertion that conflicts arise in the mining sector because of government and companies’ failure to manage people’s expectation, as not being government’s position.

He said the ministry, through the strategy, will work with several stakeholders and interest groups to ensure that there is meaningful engagement as one way of harmonising the issues.

Recently, the country has seen a wave of conflicts between communities and mining companies over issues of corporate social responsibilities.

Malawi’s mining sector this year contracted by 7.8 percent, following the temporally closure of 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 from 14.9 percent in 2012,” said the report.

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

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