Minister markets Malawi’s mineral potential to Australian investors

By Wahard BETHA

Malawi’s Minister of Mining Albert Mbawala says his attendance of this year’s Africa Down Under Conference in Australia was beneficial as he managed to market the country’s unexploited mineral potential to mining investors.

Mbawala told Mining & Trade Review in an interview that besides making a presentation on ‘Malawi as a Mining Investment Destination in Africa,’ he interacted with some Australian investors including those doing mineral exploration and mining activities in Africa.

Mbawala said: “In my presentation to delegates drawn from different countries, I highlighted the mining opportunities in Malawi including key issues in terms of geology and mineral resources.”

“I pointed out efforts the Government of Malawi is putting through my Ministry in updating the country’s geological database, which forms a base for mineral resource development. For example, the acquisition of high resolution airborne geophysical data (magnetic, radiometric and gravity) that is available for investment decisions.”

“Apart from attending the conference, I further interacted with several mineral exploration and mining companies on the mining investment opportunities in Malawi and invited them to come and invest in the country.”

Mbawala said the investors he met include: Apollo Minerals Limited which is interested in the exploration and mining of Zinc and lead; Black Rock Mining Limited which is interested in the exploration and mining of graphite and is currently exploring for graphite in Tanzania; Leo Lithium, Peak Rare Earth Company which is interested in the exploration of rare earth minerals and is currently exploring for rare earths in Tanzania; PW Mining International (Ghana), KEFI Gold, and Copper PLC which is focused on gold and copper deposits in highly prospective areas.

Mbawala said during the interactions he spelt out some of the incentives the government has put in place to make exploration and mining activities attractive in Malawi.

The incentives include the importation of duty free equipment for exploration and mining activities, and the introduction of the web-based mining cadastre for transparency in licencing for all tenements on “first come, first served” basis.

The Malawi delegation also had an interface meeting with Australia’s Assistant Minister of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which they discussed mineral projects implemented in Malawi by Australian companies registered on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Mbawala said: “During our discussion, the Australian Government assured Malawi of its tremendous support in capacity building in the areas of contract negotiation and technical training of mining engineers, metallurgists, mineral economists and related mining experts.”

The Mining Minister also held a meeting with Sovereign Metals &Mining Directors at their offices where he was given the progress report on Kasiya Rutile and Malingunde Graphite Projects in Lilongwe.

After the meeting, Sovereign Metals took the Minister to Keysbrook Heavy Mineral Sands (HMS) Mining Project within Perth, Capital City of Western Australia.

The purpose of the field visit was to appreciate the similarity of the Project with the planned Kasiya Rutile Project in Lilongwe.

Mbawala said: “The Kasiya Rutile Project is similar to the Keysbrook HMS Project in that they are both located in the suburbs of the city where environmental and land issues might be of primary concern.”

“However, as we observed at Keysbrook, environmental issues are managed through proper land rehabilitation. As indicated by Sovereign Metals, mining and land rehabilitation at Kasiya will be similar to that of the Keysbrook.”

“The major difference shall lie in the treatment of top soil. The Kasiya Project shall blend the subsoil with organic matter sourced from elsewhere and use the blended material for backfill, since the top soil from the project site is highly enriched with rutile mineralisation as compared to the Keysbrook, which is barren.”

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