Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) has said Malawi has the potential in the mining industry that could easly translate into the sustainable development of the country.
NCA country Director for Malawi, Stein Villumstad said this Monday in Lilongwe during the opening of the 2017 Malawi Alternative Mining Indaba at Crossroads hotel.
He pointed out that the sector offers a lot of potential but it has been underutilized for many years for the development of the country.
Villumstad said the mining sector could play a crucial role as an alternative means of developing the country’s economic growth.
The country director observed that the country still uses outdated laws to regulate the industry, saying this is having a negative impact to the implementation of some mining projects in the country.
“The country needs to have updated laws that will take care of interested parties, government’s responsibility and regulations, interest of potential investors and the rights of local communities,” he explained.
Villumstad said government needs to have firm regulations to safeguard the industry from being exploited by other stakeholders within the mining sector.
The country director pointed out that the indaba would engage all stakeholders interested in mining business, including government as key player, investors and local communities in advancing its growth.
He viewed that various stakeholders would offer different experiences around the region in terms mining potential, benefits and challenges being encountered in the process.
Country Director of Oxfam, John Makina spelt the need for the government to look at the recommendations that would be raised during the indaba.
He added that the mining industry is facing so many challenges in terms of regulation and the use of the available laws which need to be reviewed to be in conformity with current situations.
“We need to move forward in addressing the challenge the industry is facing and provide tangible solutions for the betterment of the country in general,” Makina highlighted.
He said it was pleasing to note that Malawi submitted its first ever Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) report as one way of promoting transparency and accountability in the sector.
Chairperson for Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN), Kossam Munthali bemoaned the absence of officials from the Ministry of Mines and Natural Resources to the indaba.
He said this was the third indaba that has been organised but Ministry officials, did not commit themselves to attend such gatherings where they could have opportunities to explain some of the burning issues affecting the sector.
The two day Mining Indaba has the theme-Transforming Malawi’s Natural Resources Sustainable Development and has drawn participants throughout the country ranging from Parliamentarians, Traditional leaders, local community members, investors, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media.