Mining in Malawi in March 2019

The Malawi government courts the Commonwealth Secretariat for hand in oil sector assistance. This is the leading story in the Mining & Trade Review (March 2019, available for download).

The Commonwealth Secretariat has been asked to support the government in the:

  • Review of Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 1983
  • Finalisation of the development of Petroleum Policy
  • Developing a model petroleum sharing agreement (PSA)
  • Re-negotiation of the PSA that it signed with RAKGAS
  • Development of a community engagement strategy
  • Capacity building

This comes on the back of ongoing exploration being conducted primarily by RAK Gas and Pacific Oil. As Head of Oil and Gas Desk at the Department of Mines in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Cassius Chibambo, said

As a nation, we are very excited with the incoming results from oil exploration work being conducted by these tenement holders.  The likelihood of finding commercial petroleum discoveries in these potential sites is high with average values in the range of 16.8% – 20%, exceeding the typical international oil industry threshold of 10%

It’s been nearly five years since the government of Malawi under former President Joyce Banda signed three production sharing agreements just days before the elections. The Anti-Corruption Bureau continues to investigate.

The Mining & Trade Review also covers the following stories:

  • The Natural Resource Justice Network’s concerns with the new Mines and Minerals Act, including the absence of free, prior and informed consent provisions.
  • Ignatius Kamwanje tries to clarify why some companies need large samples during exploration
  • Grain Malunga discusses gemstones and concludes that “The gemstone industry in Malawi has potential to support the economy if it is properly explored and regulated. The artisanal miners need to be supported through a properly baked policy, technical and financial support mechanism.”
  • The government’s public consultation on mining safety regulations, but where is the discussion on unionised labour which is the best way to secure workers’ rights and safety. A miner was killed in February at Jalawe Coal Mine in Rumphi.
  • Shayona and LaFarge have spent some money on corporate social responsibility projects

Also in March, aspirants for president and vice-president faced each other in live debates although President Arthur Peter Mutharika and his running mate Everton Chimulirenji chose to follow in former president Joyce Banda’s footsteps and not show up. Mining was on the agenda and you can read more here and here. I hope to take some time this coming month to look at how mining is framed in several of the political party manifestos – watch this space.

Mkango Resources filed a new technical report on Songwe Hill Rare Earth project and now has the finances to be able to complete its feasibility study. Here’s the latest NI 43-101 Technical Report, and you can find their earlier reports and all documents they have filed as a result of being listed in Canada by searching SEDAR.

BRGM wrote a short news piece on the work it is doing to support the government:

BRGM has been coordinating a large-scale project in Malawi to develop the country’s mining sector, covering all aspects from geological mapping and an inventory of mineral potential to organisation of the sector. […]

The BRGM had already worked on Malawi’s geology and mineral resources in cooperation with its counterparts in Malawi, producing a brochure in 2015 summarising current knowledge to promote the mining sector.

3 000 samples to be taken during a geochemical survey of stream sediments.

This was the basis for an initial field campaign conducted in 2017, aiming to review, relocate and reinterpret all known indices (about 180), in anticipation of a geochemical survey of stream sediments, which plans to take some 3000 samples.

These studies have already indexed – and confirmed – numerous occurrences of minerals across 2/3 of the southern part of the country (sulphides, copper, graphite, titanium, vermiculite and rare earths, including high potential for the niobium used in new technologies). The petrographic and geochemical characterisation studies now under way should produce a better understanding of the origins of these minerals and their potential.

Particular attention is given to small-scale mining for gemstones (corundum, rubies, beryl, tourmaline and spinels) with a view to organising the sector more efficiently, in particular through training for those involved and the establishment of a certificate of origin. To date, 12 geological maps to the scale of 1:100 000 (out of 40) are being finalised and a GIS is under development to document the main active quarries producing industrial rocks and minerals (marble and aggregate, both essential to the country’s development) and potentially favourable lithological formations.

And if you are interested, Paladin Energy’s most recent corporate presentation at the Toronto Canada Roadshow had this to say about Kayelekera uranium mine.

2019 March Paladin Kayelekera Presentation 1

2019 March Paladin Kayelekera Presentation.png

 

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