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Mining & Trade News

Malawi Online News
Mining
Kangankunde on track to be next rare earth producer
May 16, 2024 / Marcel Chimwala

ASX-listed Lindian Resources, which is conducting mine development works at Kangankunde Rare Earths Project in Balaka, says the project is on track to be the next rare earth producer.

Lindian CEO Alistair Staphens said this in his presentation at Malawi’s first ever Mining Investment Forum at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.

Stephens explained that studies have indicated that Kangankunde is destined to become a rare earth market leader producing best-value, most cost-efficient rare earths concentrate.

He said the project will also be an environmentally sustainable producer of rare earths as studies have also proved that the product in non-radioactive.

Meanwhile, Lindian has announced final drill assay results for Kangankunde Rare Earths Project that show continuous high-grade mineralization at the site which includes;

? 80 metres @ 3.83% TREO from surface to EOH in KGKRC099

? 140 metres @ 3.20% TREO from surface to EOH in KGKRC096

? 100 metres @ 3.09% TREO from surface to EOH in KGKRC097

? 80 metres @ 2.72% TREO from surface to EOH in KGKRC109

? 150 metres @ 2.62% TREO from surface to EOH in KGKRC093 including, o 90 metres @ 3.54% TREO from 58 metres

? 150 metres @ 2.60% TREO from surface to EOH in KGKRC098 including, o 21 metres @ 4.49% TREO from surface, and o 66 metres @ 3.20% TREO from 70 metres.

Stephens explained in a Press Statement that the average grade of rare earths critical metal elements neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) remains consistent at ~20% of Total Rare Earth Ore (TREO) with grades of up to 23.5% TREO recorded.

He said: “Assays for the Phase 3 drill program are now finalised. Lindian’s technical team has completed more than 20.7 kms of drilling at Kangankunde in less than 15 months to define what is one of world’s best rare earths deposits with excellent grade, non-radioactive material, a high NdPr ratio and enormous scale.”

“Our technical team is to be congratulated for their efforts. We will soon report an updated Mineral Resource Estimate that includes the Indicated component of the Resource as well as an Ore Reserve Estimation which is another meaningful benchmark to assess the project’s unlocked value. Following this will be further updates on mine development capital expenditures (capex) and operating expenditures (opex) prior to the release of the Feasibility Study this quarter.”

Lindian’s Executive Chairman Asimwe Kabunga explained that Kangankunde’s project developmnent continues to advance very rapidly with multiple workstreams advancing concurrently.

 “We can commence construction in the coming months. Interest in the asset continues to build from a broad number of interested parties with many keenly awaiting our Feasibility Study. We are confident it will showcase the project’s compelling economics,” he said.

In August 2023, Lindian announced its maiden Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the Kangankunde Rare Earths Project of 261 million tonnes averaging 2.19% TREO above a 0.5% TREO cut-off grade.

The infill holes reported are designed to provide sufficient data to increase the confidence level of a portion of the MRE to Indicated status.

The data from all the Phase 3 drilling is currently being used to update the resource model which will be applied to detail mine design and scheduling and Ore Reserve Estimation.

The areas which were targeted by the Phase 3 infill program are those considered most likely to define initial feed for operation of the Stage 1 Processing facility. These are; the northern area of the central carbonatite complex, the western area of the central carbonatite complex; and the south-eastern area of the central carbonatite complex.

Mining
Government needs to address challenges dogging mining projects
May 16, 2024 / Harry Witness Mombanyah

We join a number of stakeholders in the minerals sector in congratulating the Malawi Government for successfully holding the inaugural Mining Investment Forum from April 23 to 24.

As reported in our lead article; at the forum, private firms in mining sector raised a number of challenges that are impeding development of mining projects.

Chairman of Akatswiri Holdings, who represented the private mining firms at the opening ceremony of the Forum, told State President Dr Lazarus Chakwera who officially opened the Forum that the challenges include delays in signing Mine Development Agreements (MDAs), inadequate transportation and energy infrastructure which increases operational costs, shortage of skilled labor and technical expertise, local market volatility and price fluctuations which affect profitability, and illegal mining activities that are undermining formal sector operations and revenue collection efforts.

We also feel the Malawi Government must seriously address these challenges in order to enable the sector develop.

Government indeed needs to find a way to ensure that MDAs are finalized in a short period of time to avoid frustrating investors as the world commodity market is very volatile hence these delays can affect the feasibility of projects in the long run.

Malawi also needs to address transport and energy issues affecting mining projects. The Ministry of Transport and Public Works has to prioritize construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads to mining sites.

It is sad that mining sites such as Wimbe area in Kasungu where Shayona Cement Corporation has limestone mines and a state-of-the-art clinker plant and Chimwadzulu in Ntcheu where Mwalawanga Mining has a mining licence for the highly priced corundum have poor access roads.

As Minister of Transport and Public Works Jacob Hara is quoted in our article on this page, arrangements should be made between mining companies and government to ensure that roads to these economically productive sites are in good condition.

Likewise, the Ministry of Energy needs to ensure that there is power available for mining companies. It becomes expensive hence frustrating for investors to be using diesel generators to power their heavy-duty operations.

There is also need for interventions to address shortage of foreign exchange which is affecting importation of various equipment for mining and mineral processing.

Notably, this problem is crippling the cement producers as for a long time, they have been complaining that they are not able to import spare parts for their plants and raw materials due to foreign exchange shortages, which is frustrating.

Transport
Malawi plans to introduce electric locomotives
May 16, 2024 / Harry Witness Mombanyah

Minister of Transport and Public Works Jacob Hara says the Malawi Government is planning to introduce electric locomotives to replace the diesel-powered trains.

Hara said the development will help reduce reliance on traditional diesel-powered engines as it is proven that in the long term it is much cheaper to use electricity than diesel.

The Minister said this when he addressed the Malawi Mining Investment Forum in Lilongwe where he emphasized that Government is in the process of developing the country’s transport network in order to facilitate development of the key economic sectors namely agriculture, mining and tourism.

 “We will be starting this big project this year probably in three months’ time. We are currently working on our first stage of the Beira corridor connection, our plan is to electrify the line once we hit Nsanje all the way to Blantyre then through Lilongwe and connecting to Zambia,” he said.

Hara emphasized the crucial role of an efficient transport system in facilitating the movement of materials and supplies essential for mining operations.

“The transport sector is the number one enabler for national development, this is why in this fiscal year’s budget we have incorporated funds for very specific projects including those in mining areas,” he said.

On water transport, Hara said the Tanzara corridor will be revitalized to connect it to Chilumba which will help to boost water transport to Chipoka.

“We want to bring back life to Chipoka as we plan to make it one of the biggest ports in the region,” said Hara.

Besides water and rail transport, the Minister also said Government is in the process of upgrading the road network across the country.

He, however, spelt out the need for collaboration between mining companies, the Ministry of Mining and the Ministry of Transport to come up with plans that can benefit the two sectors.

Hara said: “We need to address the mentality that the government owe us good roads. Everyone should be responsible for providing the good roads through the road tolls and we can have special arrangements with the mining companies focusing on maintaining the roads that they use frequently.”

“Malawi’s decision to join the Central Corridor Transport Facilitation Agency shows the government’s determination to address challenges in the mining sector and elevate transportation infrastructure to new heights.”

“With ambitious plans to revitalize rail networks and enhance road connectivity, Malawi is heading to the new era of economic growth and development for the betterment of its citizens and the broader international community.”

Mining
Malawi Government taken to task on challenges in mining sector
May 16, 2024 / Marcel Chimwala

Private sector players in the minerals sector have urged the Malawi Government to address a myriad of challenges dogging development of mining projects in the country in order for the sector to adequately contribute to the country’s economic development.

The resource firms tabled their concerns to State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera in Lilongwe when he officially opened the first ever Malawi Mining Investment Forum that was held from April 23 to 24.

Chairman of Malawi’s leading mining and mineral consulting group Akatswiri Holdings Hilton Banda, who made a keynote presentation on behalf of the private sector captains in the sector at the Forum, said the major challenges private investors are encountering in the sector include delays by the government to conclude Mine Development Agreements (MDAs) for projects, which is frustrating investors.

Banda told the President that the other challenges include inadequate transportation and energy infrastructure which increases operational costs, shortage of skilled labor and technical expertise, local market volatility and price fluctuations which affect profitability, and illegal mining activities that are undermining formal sector operations and revenue collection efforts.

“This is a young sector, and its challenges are enormous, and therefore, we will continue to count on Government’s support to realize the full potential of this most promising sector,” said Banda, hinting that with current projects’ projection, mining will be contributing more that 10% to Malawi’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030.

He also made recommendations to the President to encourage Malawians to invest in mining and its value chain, facilitate financing for mining projects by collaborating with financial institutions, and simplify bureaucratic procedures for acquiring licenses and signing agreements to avoid delays.

The mineral sector executive also advised government to study taxation models of successful mining countries and establish a competitive tax rate to attract investment, increase the capacity of energy generation for value addition, establish a mining culture among Malawians by including lessons on mining in primary and secondary schools, and establish analytical laboratories for geosciences in the country.

“Sustainable development of the mineral sectors in Africa, among others, depends on sound and comprehensive mining policy, fiscal regimes and legislative frameworks, which take into account prevailing international best practices, attract investment and enables the citizenry across the continent to realize optimal benefits from mining,” he said.

In his speech marking the official opening of the forum, Chakwera hailed the holding of the event saying it will help to answer some of the questions to challenges being experienced in the sector.

Chakwera also said the forum is a platform where players in the sector can network, learn, experience and unlock various opportunities.  

He said: “Today we are talking of precious minerals that God blessed us with. Today we have known that apart from farming, our soils have precious minerals that are on high demand across the world.”

“Today the question should be, having all these precious minerals in our soils why Malawi still remains poor. These questions must be answered through this mining investment forum in order to correct where the problem generates.”

“My idea in coming up with Agriculture, Tourism and Mining (ATM) week is to ensure that there is collaborative effort in alleviating challenges affecting our economy.”

Chakwera stressed that ignorance and negligence are the main challenges killing the mining sector as many Malawians are not aware of the mineral wealth lying across their land and also that some are conducting the mining business unlawfully.

He said: “Firstly, ignorance is the main cause why as a nation we are not benefiting much from our mineral resources.  Many of us we just walk on our land not knowing what is inside our land.”

“Secondly, is negligence whereby everyone just does whatever he or she wants. As a nation, we need to set up governing bodies and organizations to ensure security of the minerals and local beneficiation.”

“For that reason, my Government established the mining authority to review all mining development agreements in order to negotiate a win – win deal.”

“Even in Mangochi where people including foreigners were just mining gold unlawfully, I sent MDF (Malawi Defense Force) team to bring sanity and order so that they all mine according to the law and develop our economy.”

Chakwera also said his government is working to ensure that ASMs get access to loans from the banks to develop their businesses.

In her speech, Minister of Mining Monica Chang’anamuno said the forum is a shared vision to unlock the immense potential of the nation’s mining sector and pave the way for sustainable growth and development.

Chang’anamuno said the presence of key players in the sector including the President is a testament to government’s dedication to the advancement of the country’s mining industry.

She said: “The opportunities that lie before us are vast, and the challenges we face are significant. However, I am confident that through collaboration, innovation, and a shared sense of purpose, we can overcome these hurdles and unlock the full potential of our mining sector for the benefit of all Malawians.”

“This forum serves as a platform for dialogue, exchange of ideas, and forging partnerships that will drive sustainable investment and growth in our mining industry.”

“It is an opportunity for us to showcase the rich mineral wealth of our country, highlight the investment opportunities available, and demonstrate our commitment to responsible and inclusive mining practices.”

Chang’anamuno urged stakeholders in the sector to work together to leverage mineral resources, build capacity, and create a conducive environment for investment that will generate long-term benefits for the nation and its people.

Energy
RERA bemoans low access to electricity in SADC
May 16, 2024 / Marcel Chimwala

The Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA) has expressed concern over low access to electricity in some countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

RERA Executive Director Elijah Sichone raised the concern when the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) in conjunction with RERA held a series of meetings in Lilongwe aimed at advocating for access to electricity in SADC.

RERA is a formal association of independent energy regulators whose establishment was approved by SADC Ministers responsible for Energy in Maseru, Lesotho, on July 12, 2002.

RERA Executive Director Elijah Sichone said that it is important for the region is to address the issue of low access to electricity and also ensure power utilities are given cost reflective tariffs.

Sichone said: “As RERA we want to contribute to address the issues of access to electricity and one of them is to make sure that utilities such as ESCOM are given tariffs that are cost reflective, tariffs that will enable them to invest in expanding access.”

“We understand that expanding the grid to all parts of the nation is expensive, and as RERA we use our mentions to ensure that the whole population has access to electricity, and one of the mentions is mini grid.”

“This means having those areas without access to main grid having what we called solar home systems where you install solar systems to those houses at a fee to expand the access to electricity.”

Sichome, however, said it is encouraging that despite several countries in the region including Malawi having low access to electricity, some countries have managed 100% access

He said: “Access to electricity in the SADC region varies. We have member states in the SADC region who have done very well having access of 100% and we have other members who have not done very well in terms of access with very low figures.”

“We have Ireland countries like Mauritians and Seychelles having 100% access to electricity and also inland countries like Malawi having very low access to electricity. But general in the region we are at the order of 50% access to electricity,” he said.

In her remarks, MERA Consumer Affairs and Public Relations Manager, Fitina Khonje lauded the meetings saying they will provide a platform for in-depth discussions on recent regulatory and energy sector developments.

The meetings focused on on economic and technical regulation of the electricity, fuel and gas sectors, consumer services and communication, finance and audit, legal and legislative as well as human resource matters within the SADC energy regulation industry.

Khonje said: “These annual meetings are important because regional cooperation is not just for energy sector or regional interconnectors but for us to share information, experience on how we can regulate the energy sector.”

“Our role is to ensure that we balance appropriately the interests of operator and consumers. Operators should be able to run efficiently and consumers should have liability of supplies.”

“Though we are trailing in terms of access to electricity, the country is making progress in making sure that the population is connected to electricity.”

“For example the Malawi Energy Access Project (MEAP) has helped ESCOM to offload some of the back lops it has had in terms of connecting customers to electricity.”

Among others, RERA is mandated to facilitate a regional energy market that is efficient, integrated, harmonized, sustainable and investment friendly; develop and enhance the capacity of regulators; promote universal access to modern, clean, reliable, quality, and affordable energy services.

Apart from Malawi, other RERA member regulators are from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Mining
DY6 completes initial exploration programmes at Salambidwe rare earth prospect
May 09, 2024 / Marcel Chimwala

ASX-Listed resources group DY6 Metals says it has completed its initial geophysical and geochemical exploration programmes at its Salambidwe Rare Earth Exploration and niobium prospect in Chikwawa.

The exploration programmes included an airborne geophysical survey on Salambidwe, which is a virgin rare earth prospect with limited previous exploration, that was launched by Minister of Mining Monica Chang’anamuno.

CEO for DY6 Lloyd Kaiser reports that his company has received assay results for the grid-based soil and rock chip sampling, and results from the 128 soil and 386 rock chips expand the known area of anomalous responses.

Kaiser says in a statement that maximum values from separate rock chip samples were 1.21% total rare earths (TREO) and 0.12% Nb2O5 (Niobium Oxide).

He says the 45-line kilometre airborne geophysical program confirmed the highly concentric nature of the intrusive complex.

“DY6 is assessing the combined geochemical and geophysical data to refine targets prior to a maiden drill program,” Kaiser says.

DY6 undertook ground-based grid controlled geochemical sampling to confirm historical exploration results of previous holder of the tenement Globe Metals & Mining and to expand the footprint of anomalous responses.

Previous activity had not closed off the anomalous zones, nor had airborne geophysical surveys covered the area due to its proximity to the border with Mozambique. Globe completed a sampling and ground radiometric survey over part of the central ring complex area of the intrusion outlining several zones of strongly anomalous TREO and Nb responses, numerous zones extended to the limits of the sampling.

Kaiser explains that DY6’s sampling was specifically aimed at either extending or closing off these anomalous zones to the northern and western part of the licence

He says the area of the historical sampling was not resampled, but several traverses were made across the outlined anomalous areas to ensure consistency and coherency of results.

Kaiser explains that absolute values obtained from the DY6 exploration appear to be slightly lower in tenor than the historical data; which is interpreted that this is due to the majority of the DY6 sampling being peripheral to the historical sampling and extending away from the central anomalous area.

DY6 detailed sampling expanded the anomalous areas on 100m x 100m spacing and the more regional and confirmatory sampling was at 100m intervals along lines 500m apart.

Nb2O5 results also extended the anomalous areas tended both zones, though their extent is more limited than the TREO. The western zone is approximately 1,700m long (including outside tenure) and the eastern zone is approximately 1,500m long.

Kaiser says: “The expansion of the anomalous areas at Salambidwe creates an enticingly large target; the exploration team have done an excellent job in rugged terrain.”

“The company will define the priority targets for drill testing then review these in conjunction with the digital terrain data to ascertain accessibility.”

Mining
Malawi to review minerals policy
May 09, 2024 / Wahard Betha

The Malawi Government says it is in process of reviewing the country’s Mines and Minerals Policy to take into account current trends in the sector.

Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Mining Tibonge Kampondeni told Mining & Trade Review that the Ministry intends to align the new policy to Malawi 2063 Economic Agenda which emphasizes on the development of Agriculture, Tourism and Mining sectors.

Kampondeni explained that the new Policy will focus on improving in some areas including financing and mechanization for Artisanal Small-scale Miners (ASMs).

She said: “The focus of the government is on Agriculture, Tourism and Mining sectors (ATM) and we have the MW2063 Vision so the policy needs to be aligned to these areas.”

“We talk about increased productivity and yet we are stopping small-scale miners from mechanization, the reason is that we want to protect the environment.”

“They can only use such type of equipment after applying to the Commissioner of Mines. We want to take care of this burden.”

“The aspect of financing was not conspicuous in the old policy. We need a financing mechanism that will link ASMs with financing institutions,” said Kampondeni.

Kampondeni explained that unlike the old policy, the new policy will improve collaboration between small, medium and large-scale miners.

She said the policy in pipeline will also encourage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to ensure that communities surrounding mines benefit from the mineral resources.

Kampondeni: “There is a need for collaboration between small, medium and large miners where for example medium or large-scale mining companies could be used as outlets for small-scale miners in the value chain process.”

“For small-scale miners, CSR is not compulsory and they do not have community development agreements but at least we need to come up with a mechanism for mining companies to plough back to the community.”

“The issue of Occupational Safety, Health and Environment were also not clearly spelt out in the old policy. This is another area we want to look at.”

The coming Mines and Minerals Policy for Malawi reflects the realization by Government that the development of the Malawi mining industry can directly contribute to the economic growth of the country.

Meanwhile, the country is still using the old policy which was operationalized several years ago.

Mining
State-owned mining company ready to roll out
May 09, 2024 / Admin

The Malawi Government says it is in process of reviewing the country’s Mines and Minerals Policy to take into account current trends in the sector.

Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Mining Tibonge Kampondeni told Mining & Trade Review that the Ministry intends to align the new policy to Malawi 2063 Economic Agenda which emphasizes on the development of Agriculture, Tourism and Mining sectors.

Kampondeni explained that the new Policy will focus on improving in some areas including financing and mechanization for Artisanal Small-scale Miners (ASMs).

She said: “The focus of the government is on Agriculture, Tourism and Mining sectors (ATM) and we have the MW2063 Vision so the policy needs to be aligned to these areas.”

“We talk about increased productivity and yet we are stopping small-scale miners from mechanization, the reason is that we want to protect the environment.”

“They can only use such type of equipment after applying to the Commissioner of Mines. We want to take care of this burden.”

“The aspect of financing was not conspicuous in the old policy. We need a financing mechanism that will link ASMs with financing institutions,” said Kampondeni.

Kampondeni explained that unlike the old policy, the new policy will improve collaboration between small, medium and large-scale miners.

She said the policy in pipeline will also encourage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to ensure that communities surrounding mines benefit from the mineral resources.

Kampondeni: “There is a need for collaboration between small, medium and large miners where for example medium or large-scale mining companies could be used as outlets for small-scale miners in the value chain process.”

“For small-scale miners, CSR is not compulsory and they do not have community development agreements but at least we need to come up with a mechanism for mining companies to plough back to the community.”

“The issue of Occupational Safety, Health and Environment were also not clearly spelt out in the old policy. This is another area we want to look at.”

The coming Mines and Minerals Policy for Malawi reflects the realization by Government that the development of the Malawi mining industry can directly contribute to the economic growth of the country.

Meanwhile, the country is still using the old policy which was operationalized several years ago.

Mining
Malawi coal miners failing to meet soaring demand
May 09, 2024 / Tawonga Nyirenda Mayuni

Coal miners in Malawi are finding it difficult to meet the high demand for coal in the country due to operational challenges.

Mining & Trade Review has established that demand for coal has skyrocketed in Malawi due to foreign exchange shortages which are forcing consumers to buy locally.

MD for Rukuru Coal Mining Bruno Kloser, whose company runs Chombe Coal Mine at Chiweta in Rumphi District, said due to the rising demand for coal, his company is working on increasing production at the mine.

Kloser said currently the mine is not able to meet the demand from customers as there is need for installation of additional equipment to increase rate of production.

He said: “We are not able to meet the demand at the moment as production does not just increase overnight so we need to get the equipment and staff.”

MD for DDY Coal mine David Nyirenda admitted that there is high demand for coal because there is no competition with imported coal as companies are finding it difficult to import coal due to forex shortages.

“There is demand for coal as we do not have competition from outside Malawi as companies are finding it hard to import coal due to scarcity of forex, however we are not able to meet the demand due to lack of working capital as local financial institutions are always reluctant to lend to the industry,” Nyirenda said.

Acting Mine Manager for Mchenga coal mine Assan Tembo said in a separate interview that Mchenga is working on meeting the demand from customers by opening other mining sites in its tenement area.

“This side we had heavy rains so we were not able to open other ore sites, but after the rains finish we will open other sites so that we are able to meet the demand,” he said

Tembo disclosed that in order to implement the expansion plans, the Company has mobilised additional equipment and is working on repairing a bulldozer.

The major consumers for coal in Malawi include the tobacco, brewery and cement industries.