Vendors cash in on illegal gold mining
By Gloria Mbwana
A good number of vendors in Lilongwe have taken advantage of illegal gold mining activities taking place in the district by moving their merchandise to establish an informal market at the site.
A vendor selling food items whom Mining & Trade Review interviewed at the site explained he has been attracted to bring his merchandise to the informal market after he observed that mining activities are attracting multitudes of people.
My business has improved since I moved my merchandise to this site. This activity is a big deal for us as these miners who are coming from different areas both within the country and abroad require a number of commodities for their day to day lives, which we, Lilongwe vendors, are able to supply at good prices,
said the vendor identified as Festone Banda.
Another vendor Hyson Williams, who is a native of the mining area, said the gold mining activities have improved his economic status as he has dealt away with idleness by engaging in selling of clothes to the miners.
Not long ago, some of us young men depended on our parents for survival. The gold mining activity has dealt away with this dependency syndrome as it has given us the opportunity to venture into different businesses at the mining site,
He also said the mining activities has given the people of the area an alternative to diversify from their over-dependence on small-scale agriculture for their livelihood.
Williams pointed out that agriculture is a seasonal engagement which necessitates the need for the villagers to engage in mining or vending at the mine to supplement their agricultural earning.
In this area, we depend on the growing of maize and groundnuts for consumption and for sale to meet our basic needs. However, the earnings are not enough to cater for the whole year which has prompted us to venture into alternative activities at this mine,
Williams explained to Mining and Trade Review.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 64 (August 2018).