Minister of Mining, Rashid Gaffar is upbeat that the growth of the extractive industry in Malawi will contribute 30 percent funding to future national budgets.

Gaffar made the remarks recently when he visited Songwe Hill Rare Earth project being explored and developed by Mkango Resources Limited in Phalombe district.

This was the minister’s first visit since he was appointed by President Lazarus Chakwera.

Accompanied by the ministry’s principal secretary, Dr. Joseph Mkandawire, directors from the Mining department and Geological Survey, the Phalombe district commissioner and the district council chairperson, the delegation expressed satisfaction with all of the exploration and development works for rare earth elements like neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium.

Gaffar said mining is the future of this country especially when following the trend where countries are advocating for use of clean energy.

“High Strength rare earth magnets which will be made from our rare earth elements can be used to manufacture electric motors to be used in hybrid and electric cars, as well as wind turbines to produce clean energy.

“Currently, the mining industry in Malawi only contributes approximately one percent to the national budget, but we want to support the mining industry fully in Malawi, to enable the industry to generate a lot of revenue and profits, so that it can benefit the country and we can all benefit from the countries resources.

“This is why the new government decided to create a separate ministry for mining, after realizing the huge potential that the sector has to help develop the country,” he stated.

On his visit to the Songwe rare earth deposit, Gaffar said he was impressed with the progress of the project as well as the level of transparency including the corporate social responsibility (CSR) taking place despite being at the exploration and the feasibility study stage.

“You are doing a commendable job; people here are full of praise for your work. We understand you have invested a lot in this project, therefore as Government, my ministry will support you so that the future mining operation commences. I know exploration and development is a very long process and requires a lot of complex studies and investment, but people here are expectant to see the future mining operation running,” he said.

Mkango Resources country director Burton Kachinjika asked the Minister to request the Ministry of Energy to provide adequate electrical power to the project as the future mining operation will require a stable source of electrical power to run the mine and processing plant.

Kachinjika also requested a new paved road be built suitable for heavy vehicles between Migowi and the future mine site.

In his reaction, Gaffar said he will help lobby for all the issues from the responsible ministries and departments so that the mine becomes a reality.

Speaking before the minister, Senior Chief Nazombe also commended Mkango for its various assistance to the communities including the school feeding program, road network improvements, potable water, and secondary school scholarships amongst others.

Mkango is also investing in a further three exciting exploration licences, in Mchinji where it is currently exploring for rutile, gold, nickel, cobalt, base metals and graphite.

Credit: Kulinji

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