By Lusekero Mhango
KARONGA-(MaraviPost)-Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) in Karonga have bemoaned the continued lack of transparency and accountability in the mining sector in Malawi.
The Call comes despite the country signing up to the Extractive Industry Initiative (MWETI) a global standard for governance for a country’s oil, gas and mineral resources.
The development also follows concerns that communities within mining cites have limited knowledge on annual revenue collected from mining companies, license details and ESIA reports.
Speaking in an interview following a round table discussion that was aimed at creating a platform of sharing information on mining with stakeholders, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace under the Karonga Diocese Desk Officer Louis Nkhata, said little benefits are being felt on the ground as communities continue to lament a lack of openness among mining companies.
He observed a major observation from the discussion revealed information gap among community members on issues of mining.
“Transparency and accountability remain a big challenge especially in communities where mining activities are being extracted as secrecy over revenue and contracts continue to cast a heavy shadow over the sector hence community’s dissatisfaction with mining firms,” he said.
Concurring with Nkhata Chairperson for Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN) Cosam Munthali while expressing gratitude for such a platform, bemoaned the continued shunning of such engagements by investors.
“Such platforms are vital in achieving the objectives of agenda 2063 which is clear on industrialization as it is the way to go with mining being the catalyst for driving the development hence investors must start being open in their dealings with communities where mining activities are being extracted,” Munthali explained.
In a separate interview, general manager for Lotus Limited at Kayelekeraa Uranium Mine Theo Keyter described the round table discussion as vital in clearing mirth and misunderstanding between communities and investors.
“As Lotus we believe in community engagement and openness in our dealing on mining and so far our relationship with community members is very positive due to the good working relationship we have created.”
With financial assistance from Australia Aid through Oxfam and CCJP is running a project titled Action by Communities Towards Inclusive and Valuable Extractive for Malawian in Karonga and Chitipa districts respectively.