Chikomeni Manda has shared his experiences of mining in Malawi’s Mzimba District with Mining in Malawi in the past and he even invited you to tour a mine. Today he writes about an exciting development for artisanal and small-scale miners in the country.
Chikomeni is a young small-scale gemstone miner and a member of Mzimba Gemstone Mining Cooperative. He is engaged in gem marketing and capacity building of artisanal and small-scale mining in areas such as gemstone prospecting and mining, safety and good mining practices, gemstone grading and marketing.
Chikomeni can be contacted on: chikomanda [at] gmail [dot] com
Artisanal Mining Training Centre established by Northern Region Miners in Malawi
By Chikomeni Manda
The artisanal and small scale miners of the northern region on 23 February 2016 established the Artisanal Mining Training Center in Mzuzu and elected a management committee. Jerifton Gama was elected chairman and Chikomeni Manda as secretary.
Different stakeholders like Gemstone Association of Malawi (GAM) north, Malawi Women in Mining (MAWIMA) north, Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (TEVETA) north, Mines Department Northern Regional Office and the Geological Survey Department north have been actively involved from the start in establishing the Training center.
The artisanal and small scale miners in the northern region have been advocating for a training center for a long time. It is a result of their willingness and persistence that they kept on approaching Mines Department and TEVETA to help them realize their dream
Ian Petros Mbewe a veteran gemstone miner said.
The idea came about after looking at the knowledge gap which many artisanal and small scale miners have in the areas like mining, marketing, value addition and entrepreneurship. The knowledge gap has contributed too many problems such as environmental degradation due bad mining methods and realising little or no profit because of poor marketing systems.
TEVETA came in to assist in skills development and has taken a leading role and interest towards improving the welfare of artisanal and small scale miners in the region. It is because of this that it has been funding and guiding the whole process towards the establishment of the center. In 2013, they a offered a Gemstone Marketing training in Mzimba, a mining safety training to Karonga and Mchenga coal miners and in 2015 they took some women to South Africa for a training in Gemology.
When operational the Training Center will be offering the following trainings; mineral exploration, mining, gemology, lapidary, jewelry making and entrepreneurship. The center will be open to anyone interested to learn the above mentioned courses. This is coming at a time when the country is trying to diversify from an agricultural based economy to other potential sectors of which mining one of them.
In his acceptance speech, Jerifton Gama said
there is need for all the stakeholders especially the miners themselves to take ownership and leading role in taking the center to another level through hard work since it’s the first artisanal mining training center in country.
The regional mining engineer for the north George Maneya thanked TEVETA for the help rendered in establishing the center. He urged the elected members to work hard to make the center a success nationally by producing qualified artisans for the development of the small scale mining sector in the country. Therefore he encouraged them to make use of TEVETA, Mines Department and the Geological Survey Department for technical support.
The center is expected to empower the youths with different skills broaden their mining knowledge, encourage value addition through utilization of the machines which the center will procure soon hence broadening the market channels.
In her closing remarks the TEVETA Region Service Center Manager Mrs. Concepter Kachoka said
I am very happy that this has finally started and that TEVETA is ready to help in any way it can. The most important thing is that most of the delegates are experts in the field. Therefore I encourage them to bring their expertise to the center for others to learn from them.