Event: Launch of Malawi’s Chamber of Mines and Energy Next Week (10am, 3 February, Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe)

Malawi’s Chamber of Mines and Energy is to be launched next week, Wednesday 3 February, 2016, by the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Hon. Bright Msaka, at Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe, from 10.00am.

Membership of the Chamber is open to exploration and mining companies, construction companies (drilling and civil engineering) and financial institutions that support the mining sector. The interim President of the Chamber is Dean Lungu, the former Chairman of Press Corporation Limited, and owner of Deans Engineering Company Limited, CNL Engineering Limited and Tapiwa Investments Limited.

This week the National Coordinator of the Chamber of Mines and Energy, Grain Malunga, provided further information to Mining in Malawi to explain the direction the Chamber will take for Malawi’s mining and energy sectors.

Grain MalungaNext week, the Malawian Chamber of Mines and Energy will be launched. What are currently the main opportunities for the private sector in mining and energy? How will the Chamber support companies to seize these opportunities?

The mining and energy sectors seem to offer hope for the country in terms of the potential they can offer for economic growth. Recent geophysical survey data will be a source of attraction for mineral exploration while the opening up of the energy sector will increase power generation through hydropower and coal for driving the mining industry. The Chamber of Mines and Energy (CMEM) will encourage granting of licences to serious exploration companies and discourage holding of exploration ground for speculative purpose.

The Chamber intends to encourage government to open up the energy sector and encourage government to empower MERA [Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority] to be the broker for private sector engagement in energy generation and distribution. ESCOM [Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi] should now be one of the energy players in the country.

CMEM expects government to speed up resolving issues of oil and gas exploration as the Chamber finds no basis for suspending these activities. This only increases investment risk and lack of security of tenure. The licences were correctly issued under the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act. If need be the Chamber will mediate between government and the Oil Exploration Companies to resolve the misunderstanding.

What are the main challenges facing investors in Malawi and how will the Chamber help to address these?

The main challenges facing mining investors in Malawi is the hostility of the Civil Society and poor reporting of the mining sector. The Civil Society would like to champion sustainable development in the country through undermining of the Mines and Minerals Act (1981) and the Financial Management Act that govern how government revenue is utilised. The best they can do is to engage government in a constructive manner and not menace the Mining Companies that are paying what is due to government in accordance with taxation laws. How government utilises revenue from the mining sector should not translate into misplaced frustration or aggression on mining companies who have come to do business and not to do the services that government is supposed to render to its people.

What will be the first key activities of the Chamber?

The key activities or objectives of the Chamber will be as follows:

  • to promote, advance and protect the mining industry of Malawi;
  • to promote the interests of its members;
  • to consider all questions connected with the mining industry and to promote public interest therein;
  • to collect and circulate information relating to the mining industry; and
  • to promote the interests of apprentices and learners in all branches of the mining industry and to encourage the practical and technical training of such apprentices and learners.

And finally, what are some of the other benefits of companies and people joining the Chamber?

  • The Chamber will be the voice of the minerals and energy sectors
  • The Chamber will represent its members on negotiations with government on issues related with taxation, mining regulations and policy reversals
  • The Chamber will defend its members on issues related with unfair representation of facts aimed at tarnishing their image at local and international level

To contact the Chamber, email malawichamberofmines[at]yahoo.com.

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