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Small-scale miners query MDF role in mineral exportation

May 23, 2024 / Francis TAYANJAH-PHIRI

Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASMs) who export gemstones to overseas markets through the country’s airports have expressed concern over the conduct of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF)saying its officers at the airports are demanding too many documents in order to allow them export the minerals, which is detrimental to their trade.

The ASMs alleged in separate interviews that MDF officers are demanding that an exporter submits a copy of a Reserved Mineral Licence, Small Scale Mining Licence, an Export Permit, Certificate of Inspection from the Ministry of Mining and the Malawi Revenue Authority [MRA] clearance copy for the shipment to leave Malawi.

The mineral dealers claim that this trend is common at Chileka and Kamuzu International Airports such that a number of shipments are being held by MDF.

The ASMs are demanding that the Ministry of Mining comes out in the open to report to the industry whether this is a new requirement for exporting mining products other than being silent as those involved are being ‘victimised’.

In an interview, Chikomeni Manda a Small-Scale Mining consultant and Managing Partner for Perekezi ASM Consultants said what is happening is retrogressive and ought to stop at any cost.

Manda said: “In the long term, this practice will be a recipe for corruption.”

“The Ministry of Mining should engage MDF on this, as it is demotivating those who are exporting legally. The government is promoting formality of the mining sector and at the same time giving a few people doing things in the right way a hard time; you tend to wonder what does government really wants?” questioned Manda.

MDF Spokesperson Major Emmanuel Kelvin Mlelemba said the military body is not aware of the said allegations.

“We have not received any information to that effect. You may cross-check with the Ministry of Mining on requirements for mineral exporters,” he said.

Ministry of Mining Spokesperson, Tiwonge Kampondeni said she needed to cross-check with diverse stakeholders before officially responding to the allegations.

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