By Bester Kayaye
Malawi’s leading mining and mineral resources consulting group Akatswiri Mineral Resources has expressed concern over the country’s current economic problems saying they are impacting negatively on its business.
Malawi is currently experiencing economic problems including shortage of foreign exchange, power blackouts and shortage of fuel in pump stations.
Group Chairman for Akatswiri Holdings Hilton Banda disclosed that the economic crisis is weighing on the operations of its subsidiary Chawezi Resources which has just started quarry production in Nathenje, Lilongwe such that it is failing to meet its minimum production target of 35,000 tonnes of quarry and quarry dust per month.
Banda explained that scarcity of diesel which powers the tippers that transport its products has forced the company to scale down its production by 50 percent.
He said: “Due to lack of foreign currency reserves, we are unable to import extra equipmenty for our Chawezi Quarry Mine to enhance our operations and undertake some expansion works.”
“Lack of adequate power is another factor that has forced us to scale down our operations as we are supposed to be operating 24/7 but the power crisis is pushing us to operate for only eight hours per day or less.”
“Scarcity of diesel is even hampering our Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE) efforts as we are expected to be using water bowsers every day to water the roads to do away with dust.”
Banda urged government to work out long lasting solutions to the economic challenges in order for the country to succeed in the implementation of the Malawi 2063 vision which has the mining sector as one of the key areas to attain industrialization.
“The Malawi Vision 2063 (MW2063) identifies mining as one of the strategic sectors that have potential to support industrialisation of the country’s economy. In its initial 10-year MW2063 implementation plan, the country aims at harnessing the mining sector in value addition and increase export of finished products but all these cannot be accomplished with the direction we are in,” he said.
In addition to Nathenje, the Akatswiri Holdings Group plans to set up quarry mines in cities of Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba.
The Akatswiri diversified resources group has mineral tenements across Malawi and also offers consultancy services in mining engineering, geology and construction.