The recently appointed Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Hon. Bright Msaka SC, opened the consultative workshop on the draft Mines and Minerals Bill on 14 April 2015. This workshop brought together a wide range of stakeholders to review the draft bill that was submitted by consultant Professor James Otto to the Government of Malawi under the World Bank and European Union financed Mining Governance and Growth Support Project.
To learn more about the event, see the following posts,
- Press Release: Draft Mines and Minerals Bill Consultative Workshop (14-15 April 2015, Lilongwe)
- Malawi to enact new mining law this year/Minerals sector welcomes new Minister
- Malawi conducts scrutiny on mines bill
- Govt. to recruit Registrar of Mineral Tenements
- No to secret mining deals, Government committed to EITI process
Below is the speech that Msaka gave to open the event.
It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome you all to what I consider to be a crucially important National Consultative Workshop, on a long overdue draft Mines and Minerals Law.
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, we are here today in order for my Ministry to present the draft Mines and Minerals Bill and give you, distinguished and eminent participants, an opportunity to provide your final comments on the Draft Bill. After this, and taking into account your collective views, the bill will be presented to Cabinet and eventually to the National Assembly.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, the current Government, under the sterling leadership of Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has singled out mining as one of the key transformative sectors for the upliftment of our economy.
There is no doubt in the opinion of Government that mining still remains one of the key priority sectors that can significantly contribute to socio- economic development of the country. This is also envisioned in the current Malawi Growth and Development Strategy.
However, in order for the mining industry and our mineral resources to make the expected contribution to the country’s economic growth, there is need for concerted, consistent and steadfast effort towards promotion of sustainable mining. This, in the main, will be possible only if we develop a sound and comprehensive mining legislation, which takes into account prevailing international best practices, attract investment and enables Malawians to derive optimum benefits from mining.
Accordingly, we need a piece of legislation that is comprehensive, that meets international standards, that clarifies the rules of engagement, that reduces speculation, that evens the playing field, that makes mining profitable, that is beneficial to Malawi, that attracts investment, that protects the environment, that eliminates corruption, that reduces disputes, and that minimises litigation.
Further, I envisage a modern Mines and Minerals Bill to be one that adequately addresses corporate social responsibility, has in place a system for determining fair prices, enforces transparent and accountable decision making, encourages local equity participation, recognises the value of minerals exhibitions, protects investors from being hounded out of their investments, and does not ignore the role of women and the youth.
Distinguished delegates, this workshop will be considered a success, and our nation will be better served, if the outcome of this gathering will be a draft Mines and Minerals bill that addresses and allows all those expectations to happily co-exist, without one undermining the other.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, you will recall that from 16th to 17th July 2014, most of you gathered at Bingu International Conference Centre where a broad spectrum of stakeholders participated in a National Consultative Symposium during which my Ministry sought views on the current mining legislation.
Today, you are gathered once again to present the reviewed draft mining legislation and to seek your final comments into the Draft Mines and Minerals Bill before it is submitted to Parliament for enactment.
Just to highlight a few salient progressive features, of the draft Bill:
- Proposes the creation of a Mineral Resources Committee that will ensure transparent and efficient issuance and administration of mineral tenements;
- promotes local community engagement between the licence holder and the communities in the vicinity to the tenement;
- proposes the possibility of Government participating in some mining projects;
- shifts the collection of mineral royalty from my Ministry to Malawi Revenue Authority;
- provides for exploration companies to apply for a retention licence when some economic and technical factors do not permit the development of a mine where exploration has been done.
The draft Mines and Minerals Bill is also aligned to the African Mining Vision and the Malawi Growth Development Strategy.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, my Ministry attaches great importance to consultations and collaboration with all stakeholders. Your wisdom, experience and input towards the formulation of this Bill is therefore of utmost importance. Your input, wisdom and experience, will continue to be relevant in the implementation of the law once passed by parliament.
Allow me to commend all stakeholders for the constructive comments that the Ministry has been receiving throughout the review process and for honouring our invitation to this final consultative workshop. It is our hope and expectation that you will have fruitful deliberations and make value-adding final comments to this important legal instrument. I wish, therefore, to encourage you to vigorously continue scrutinising the draft bill and pointing out the remaining gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in the draft bill. Your diligence, objectivity and patriotism will be most demanded in this process in order for our nation to address challenges identified in this industry.
May I also take this opportunity to inform this workshop that the Ministry is taking bold steps to build capacity, including capacity in research, under the Mining Governance and Growth Support Programme. In this regard, we are collaborating with the University of Malawi (Chancellor College and the Polytechnic) to train geologists and mining engineers, among others. We are also working in partnership with the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in the training of mineral processing engineers and metallurgists.
We will continue with capacity building programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels to strengthen the human resource capacity in order to meaningfully and efficiently manage sustainable development of the mineral sector.
The issues of transparency and accountability in the administration of mineral rights and utilization of royalties and fees for the mineral sector are very important. This is why the Government is firmly committed to the EITI process. The Government is currently taking all necessary steps to sign for membership to the EITI by June this year.
I wish to extend Government’s sincere gratitude to the World Bank, European Union, JICA, the French Government, ADB, UNDP, FDH Bank, Ned Bank, among other cooperating partners, for their steadfast support towards the development of the mineral sector in Malawi.
This is a nascent sector, whose challenges are enormous. We will therefore continue to count on your support to realize the full potential of this very promising sector.
In the same vein, I wish to acknowledge in a special way, the effort that the Task Force team, with technical guidance from the Consultant, Professor James Otto, has put into coming up with the draft Mines and Minerals Bill that is before you today.
Finally, I would like to sincerely thank you all for coming to participate in this important National Consultative Workshop on the Draft Mines and Minerals bill. I wish your meeting unlimited success.
With these remarks, I declare the Consultative Workshop officially open.
I thank you for your kind attention.