EDITORIAL – Marcel Chimwala
Malawi needs to market its mineral resources
It has always been said that the minerals sector offers a better alternative for diversification to Malawi which heavily depends on agriculture with tobacco as a driving force of the economy.
In pursuing this belief, the government, ever since the first mining exhibition was held in the 1990’s has been coming up with a number of projects to develop the minerals sector including the oil and gas subsector.
Notable among the projects is the Mining Governance and Growth Support Project (MGGSP), whose significant component was the airborne geophysical survey which mapped out anomalies of various minerals across the country.
Listening to the top technocrat at Geological Survey Department, Jalf Salima, at the official presentation of the results of the survey in Lilongwe some months ago, we were convinced that Malawi has anomalies for high value minerals that have to be pursued either by the government or private investors.
The launch of the Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment Project (GEMMAP) carries more hope for us Malawians that in the near future, we will not be worrying much about poor tobacco sales or the anti-smoking lobby destroying the economy.
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining assured Malawians at the launch that the project is a great opportunity for Malawi as it will interpret the data that was acquired through the airborne geological survey and come up with the true mineral potential of the country.
We very much appreciate the initiative taken by the government and cooperating partners including the World Bank, European Union and the French government to conduct the airborne geophysical survey and GEMMAP, which will ensure that updated data on the country’s mineral resources is available to investors.
However, we would like to request the government to ensure that the data is marketed to global investors who can be attracted to come to Malawi to invest in the country’s minerals sector.
The data has to get to high level global mining conferences such as the annual Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa and the Africa Down Under Conference in Australia for investors to sample.
It will serve no purpose for government to be sleeping on the data with the excuse that it wants to serve funds for travel expenses of its officers to these highly patronized mining events.
The fact is when you are poor you have to invest to attain economic revival other than just sleeping in the name of saving resources. We, therefore, need a vibrant government that is able to market our resources and not a sleeping one in order to attain economic revival through mining.
The piece “Editorial (Marcel Chimwala): Malawi needs to market its mineral resources” featured above was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 39 that is circulating this July 2016.
The full edition is available for download here. This monthly publication is edited by Marcel Chimwala.