By Prisca PROMISE MASHUSHU
The mining sector is projected to grow by 5 percent in 2023 with the expectation that more miners will obtain exploration licences, this is according to the Malawi Annual Economic Report of 2022 published by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.
The report says for 2022, growth for the sector is projected to reach 4.6 percent with the expectation that demand for quarry and aggregates will increase.
The report reads: “In 2021, growth in the sector improved reaching 4.5 percent. This upsurge was attributed to increased production of industrial minerals such as rock aggregate and limestone as construction activities and maintenance works for roads, bridges, schools resumed.”
“To add to this, there was a steady increase in exploration licenses granted coupled with generation of updated geological maps under French sponsored Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment (GEMMAP) project.”
“Noteworthy still, the establishment of the RBM-EDF gold buying initiative which offers competitive prices to miners, assisted in reducing smuggling of the commodity by ensuring that most of the gold mined by Malawi Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) is bought from the gold potential mining sites.”
Nonetheless, growth in the sector declined sharply from 7.4 percent attained in 2019 to 3.1 percent in 2020.
The decline was on account of reduced demand for quarry aggregates resulting from the slowdown in construction activities due to the measures imposed by the Government to contain the spread of the pandemic and disruptions in the supply of electricity.
The sector was also affected by failure of some foreign investors (including Lancaster Exploration Limited and Globe Metals And Mining Company) to come into the country to conclude the Mine Development Agreements (MDAs).
Meanwhile, prospects for the construction sector remain positive as it is expected to grow by 5.5 percent in 2022 driven by the expected increase in infrastructure projects including roads and construction of secondary schools.
Furthermore, improved supply of raw materials is expected as countries ease the COVID-19 related travel and mobility restrictions. In 2023, the sector is projected to grow by 4.5 percent.