Mining laws that fails to protect the rights of the people and their culture

Malawi a predominantly agriculture economy is one of the least developed countries in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US$ 4 Billion. Malawi is endowed with a number of valuable natural resources such as uranium, niobium, tantalum, zircon, coal, corundum, magnate, graphite, phosphate, and heavy mineral sands. In the past five years, more than 120 mining licenses have been issued to both national and international companies and among these licenses are six petroleum exploration licenses. Currently, the main players in the mining industry in Malawi are Kayelekera uranium mine, Mkango Resources together with Lynas Corporation Limited who are exploring rare earths, and the Globe Metals & Mining Limited who are interested in Niobium.

Mining Impacting Negatively On Livelihoods for Local Communities

Mrs. Ackim Mubila of Mwabulambo village narrates her story on how much mining activities are negatively impacting on their livelihoods, more especially on her farming enterprise. Mrs. Mubila is a middle aged family woman with dependants, of which she was able to support adequately with food and revenue earned through maize, cassava, groundnuts and rice farming.

At the end of each and every farming season, Mrs. Mubila’s and family used to bring home five oxcarts full of maize after harvested from their farm land. She further claimed that her family was never affected of hunger as they also enjoyed bumper harvests from Cassava as well. However this is no longer the case today; she strongly complained that whenever water from mining trenches over flows into their rice fields the rice crop rots or the yield becomes very poor. “Today we have even forgotten about growing groundnuts because the soils have been negatively affected.”
By Winston Mwagomba, Kapote Mwakasungula and Danny Simbeye
Uraha Foundation, Karonga.

The Mining Law that Fails to protect the Rights of People and their Culture

Malawians did not know that Malawi has minerals that would ever attract investors because the one party government under Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda publicly told Malawians that the nation do not have minerals resources worth exploiting. The focus was therefore on agriculture.

With the coming of multiparty government, Malawians witnessed the reality of what Malawi is in terms of natural resources. This has been mainly through the influx of foreign investments on mining over the past decade. In Karonga District alone there are several large mining activities taking place. There is the kayelekela Uranium mine, coal mines at Mwabulambo, Nkhachila and some other areas around the Mpata area west of Karonga Township. The development drastically raised hopes of many Malawians in terms of economic development, as the country continues with the struggle from poverty to prosperity.
By Winston Mwagomba, Kapote Mwakasungula and Danny Simbeye
Uraha Foundation, Karonga.


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