By Bester Kayaye
Newly registered Youth in Mining Association (YIMA) says it seeks to devise means of easing point of entry for young people in the country to venture into various mining sector value chains and associated works.
YIMA President Patrick Nansongole said in an interview that the association comprising various young experts in mining, mineral processing and associated works in Malawi and across the Sub-Saharan region has been formed upon realization of the challenges encountered by young people venturing into mining.
The association is aimed at equipping budding entrepreneurs with basic mining and mineral processing knowledge and skills in a quest to unearth potential business opportunities linked to the sector.
Nansongole said: “Youth in Mining Association (YIMA) is a brain child of the business incubation programme that the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) conducted on Small Scale Mining and Mineral Processing.”
“The entrepreneurs who attended that program are the first trustees of the association. The objectives of the association include to ensure promotion of various precious and semi-precious stones and metal, to promote mineral trading and lastly to enhance the economic and capacity building activities of the youth in the mining industry.”
He explained that the association wants to address the problems that young entrepreneurs in the industry are encountering including lack of capacity to process stones into finished products that fetch a better price on the competitive market; lack of knowledge of different aspects surrounding the mining and mineral processing industry such as safety and health issues, and lack of financing to develop their mining operations.
He said the association has formulated a strategic plan that aims at alleviating the challenges once implemented.
Currently the association has members from all three regions of Malawi who are skilled in various disciplines including Business Management, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, Mining Engineering, Geology, Chemistry and Manufacturing just to mention a few.
Nansongole also disclosed that the association is in the process of registering regional cooperatives to allow members from one geographical area, dealing in similar minerals to work together.
“The association is ready to welcome new members who share our vision. It does not matter what part of Malawi you are in, we are ready to welcome you,” he said
Meanwhile, YIMA is seeking financiers to help in launching and implementing its strategic plan, which Nansongole said has incorporated all integral elements on how Malawi can achieve Vision 2063, with extractive sector as a driving tool for industrialization.
He said: “The strategic plan includes establishment of training institutions that will offer training programs in responsible mining and mineral processing.”
“Implementation of this plan will not only promote the production of secondary products from gems but also equip the youth with the ability to produce different products from minerals around Malawi.”
He said besides Malawi 2063, the plan is aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1(No poverty), 8(Decent work and economic growth), 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure) and 12 (Responsible consumption and production).
“Looking at these benefits that will be realised due to the implementation of our plan, we are confident that different stakeholders will share our vision and partner with us in implementing this strategic plan.”