How much Malawi benefits and should benefit from mining was the topic of discussion yesterday at Cresta Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe. From 6pm, people gathered to take part in a round table on mining organised by ActionAid Malawi and Citizens for Justice.
Chancy Mloza-Banda (Zodiak Broadcasting) moderated the discussions between Reinford Mwangonde (Citizens for Justice), Rafiq Hajat (Institute for Policy Interaction) and Alex Mboma (a representative of Paramount Chief Kyungu). The panelists were also asked questions by members of the audience – about 50 in total attended – and radio listeners who texted in their questions. Unfortunately no government or company representatives were present.
The outdated legislation, inability of government to enforce laws and regulations, and the low capacity to negotiate fair agreements were highlighted by panelists and audience members. Queries were raised about how money from mining is being used since there is no separate fund to direct money and instead royalties and tax payments end up in the government coffers “account number one”.
Calls were made for government to update legislation, particularly the Mines and Minerals Act of 1981, to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, to set up mechanisms to channel a small proportion of a company’s profit directly to a community trust fund governed by a community development agreement, and to ensure that free, prior and informed consent (as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People) of communities is given before mining activities can commence.
As we tweeted,
Concluding remarks by @zodiakonline moderator: it seems from discussion that some ppl have benefited from mining but Malawi at large has not
— Mining in Malawi (@MiningInMalawi) June 5, 2014
Zodiak Broadcasting aired the round table on the radio and Timveni was there to capture the event on screen.
This Round Table Discussion was part of the ActionAid Malawi and Citizens for Justice “Responsive Mining Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development in Malawi” project, which is funded by Tilitonse Fund.
The Nation has since reported (10 June 2014) on the Round Table “Expert warns on Lake Malawi oil exploration“.