By Robert Nayeja and Patrick Ndawala, MANA
Minister of Mining, Rashid Gaffar visited people engaged in illegal gold mining in Busiri River in traditional authorities Liwonde and Nsanama in the district where over 800 people are engaged in gold mining.
The visit was to assure the illegal miners that government would guide them to follow proper procedures so that they carry out their mining activities legally and freely.
“I have learnt that people here have built houses and paid school fees for their children through this illegal mining,” he said.
“The Tonse Government wants to uplift lives of the local people, as such, we will help you follow proper procedures so that the mining activity that are taking place here should be legal and you should do it freely.”
He, therefore, advised people from the area not to allow foreigners to engage in the activity.
“My ministry was informed that foreigners are the ones doing mining here, but we have all witnessed that these are people are Malawians.
“As such, we can’t stop them using force, but rather help them so that they can be self reliant and that government should also benefit.
“The government created the Ministry of Mining to be a stand-alone portfolio so that we should put the mining activities as one of the priority areas.
“We need to provide these local miners with equipment so that they can carry out their works properly. We have witnessed that they are using old methods of mining which are tiresome and a long process.
“For this activity to be a success there is need for these people to be in cooperatives so that we can easily assist them,” Gaffar said in an interview after the tour.
The miners, including Traditional Authority Liwonde, were delighted with the Minister’s visit and government’s commitment to enhance the mining industry in the area and the country at large.
“When we heard that the minister is visiting my area, we were worried that the mining activities would be stopped while our people employed themselves in this industry to find food for their families,” said the T.A. Liwonde.
Machinga District Commissioner, Rosemary Nawasha asked the Minister to consider devolution of the mining industry and that the council should be advised accordingly.
“Over 800 people from this area are the ones involved in gold mining activities and we are told some are from Ntcheu, Balaka and Lilongwe,” said the DC.