This week, Malawian geologist Josephine Muruwesi shared some of her experiences with Mining in Malawi. Josephine is Managing Director of Malawian company Akatswiri Mineral Resources and one of the few women work in Malawi’s mining sector.
Josephine, you are Managing Director of Akatswiri Mineral Resources. What services does Akatswiri provide and what is your role in this?
Akatswiri Mineral Resources was established in 2012 and provides comprehensive core services related to geology, geotechnical, mining and environment. We have hands-on experience and formal training in the use of the technologies to be used in projects as well as experience that will maximize the overall efficiency. All projects are executed under the close supervision of a professional with practical experience in project management. I am the Managing Director and Geologist by profession, my role is to manage the projects we are developing both administrative and technical.
What are the key projects you are working on?
As a female geologist, what has been your experience working in a male-dominated sector? How can more women be encouraged to work in the mining sector?
I believe what a man can do a woman can also do. It has been a great experience I enjoy what I do and want to do even more and learn more. Working in a male dominated environment is fine, at first the men might undermine you but just be confident and show them you know your job and they will respect and you can work together fine.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work?
The biggest challenge we as developers face is the misconception people have about mining, people do not really know about the processes of mining. For example, when we are doing mineral exploration people think we are mining and that they will not benefit which is not true. People benefit in terms of job creation and community development like construction of schools and roads.
What opportunities do you see for mining in Malawi?
The mining industry not only creates mining jobs but also generates employment indirectly by stimulating demand for goods and services. Mines spend millions of dollars on equipment, maintenance, food and other services and often use local contractors and suppliers. This creates jobs indirectly in transportation, and providing equipment and services to the mining industry.
How can mining contribute to Malawi’s sustainable development?
Mining can contribute to Malawi’s development by job creation in mining both directly by employing local workers and indirectly by purchasing local goods like food and services such as transportation, accommodation and construction. Job creation, either direct or indirect, also means that locals have more money to spend on local goods and services, further extending job creation opportunities.
What more could the government do to foster a better environment for the mining sector?
The government should have community awareness programmes that teach the local communities what mining is, what their rights are and how they can voice their concerns. This will help to decrease the number of disagreements mining companies have with communities and will helping in finding a way on how disagreements can be resolved.