Yesterday on 15 June 2016, Hon Bright Msaka SC, Malawi’s Minister for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining launched the five-year Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment Project (GEMMAP) in Lilongwe. The Government of France through a grant is supporting the project that aims to acquire geo-scientific and mineral occurrence data to be used to promote and maximise the mining sector’s contribution to the country’s socio-economic development.
The Director of the Geological Survey Department, Jalf Salima, provided a technical presentation on the project explaining that Malawi was last mapped in the 1950s and 1960s using aerial photography with very limited ground work to follow up. Due to advances in technology, the need to ensure data compatibility with current data exchange systems, and the known mineral occurrences in Malawi’s neighbouring countries, the Government has developed this project.
The project will be implemented by a consortium of the French Geological Survey (BRGM), the Council for Geosciences of South Africa and the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) with the Malawi Geological Survey Department.
The project has six components:
- Geological mapping which will produce a new set of maps (1:1000000; 1:250000 and 1:100000)
- Mineral resources potential mapping to compile an inventory of mineral resources and update a map from 1990 on mineral resources and occurences
- Natural risks (geo-hazards) mapping to identify geohazard prone areas
- Support to small-scale mining to provide technical support and relevant geo-data
- Procurement of laboratory equipment and construction of documentation centre to enable geological sample preparation and analysis and a building to house documentation
- Capacity building for staff in the form of on-the-job training and short- and long-term training include postgraduate studies.
Salima was followed by the CEO of BRGM and the Ambassador of France to Zimbabwe and responsible for Malawi, Laurent Delahousse. Delahousse indicated that it took 10 years to launch this project and it is built on data that has been collected in the past, including the World Bank and European Union financed Airborne Geophysical Survey and work supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The Ambassador emphasised his work promoting business relationships and investment between Malawi and France. He said
Hopefully this project can become a game changer for Malawi […] enabling government through better knowledge of its mineral resources to negotiate fairer deals […] let’s hope interests of the community and environment will be respected.
To conclude the event, Msaka launched the project suggesting that following the recently conducted surveying (Kauniuni), GEMMAP will carry out the groundwork like foot soldiers,
You can have aerial bombardment but you need foot soldiers to do the work to win the war.
Msaka also reflected on the size of the audience at mining events arguing that this reflects the great interest and potential in Malawi’s mining sector. He promised this administration’s commitment to the project and to the sector to provide a win-win situation for investors and the nation.
Just three weeks ago, he launched the African Mineral Development Centre/United Nations Development Programme supported Mining Contract Negotiation Capacity Building Project so that the
investor community, you will not be dealing with the Minister or PS [Principal Secretary] or one individual, but there will be a team of experts you will be negotiating with […] do not worry you will not need to build flats for ministers in Europe. They [the negotiators] will not argue on the basis of greed but on expert knowledge.
Many stakeholders from the artisanal and small-scale mining sector were present and also displayed their products and businesses. The Minister encouraged artisanal and small-scale miners
This is your country and you must be at the forefront of benefits from its resources; it is a sorry state that you are still using rudimentary equipment. […] Time must come to an end when you are exporting raw gemstones. […] It will be a sorry state of affairs if Malawians do not wear those stones, do not benefit from those stones; take this opportunity to rise to the challenge.
Listen to three of the speeches on SoundCloud
— Marchel Gerrmann (@MGerrmannEU) June 15, 2016