Malawian Mining Act Reviewed: Reforming the Industry

by Ina King (Potgieter)

MalawiThe Malawian mining landscape will soon see a drastic re-focus as the process of reviewing the Mining and Minerals Act (1981) has, as of December 2014, commenced. The review aims to shift mining in Malawi towards a greater local involvement – calling on local investors and equipment suppliers.

This comes after small-scale miners echoed the sentiment “we mine and sell precious stones but we are poor” at a symposium to formulate the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) policy held in Lilongwe late last year.

His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, along with the Malawian government, is implementing the reforms under the umbrella of the World Bank’s Mining Governance and Growth Support Project.

The process to review the Mines and Minerals Act saw the holding of a two-day symposium in July last year where Director for the Department of Mines, Mr. Charles Kaphwiyo said that “the Act is being reviewed in order to ensure that the country is able to realise optimal benefits from the largely unexploited sector”. The government is also pursuing plans to subscribe to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote transparency and accountability in the sector.

“We need to review the Act to put in place a viable and transparent fiscal regime that attracts investors, effectively regulates transfer of foreign earnings, ensures that a substantial amount of revenue is retained in Malawi and promotes and protects local Malawians investing in the industry,” adds Kaphwiyo.

The reform will also include institutional and governance strengthening, local and short term capacity building, the updating of geological data base through acquisition of high density airborne geophysical data, updating of geological maps, modernising the mineral cadastre and setting up of a geo-data centre for ease of data access.

The mining reform is also ushering in the new Mines and Minerals Policy which aims at attracting investment in the sector in order to transform the country from an agro-based to a mineral-based economy.

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