The Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (Qmam) has said mining cannot effectively help in the development of the country if it excludes the communities surrounding the mining areas.
Qmam programmes officer, Simeon Labana, said this during a Tonse tipindule indaba held at Chiendausiku in Balaka.
The meeting was aimed at promoting increased inclusion, accountability and responsiveness in Malawi’s mining sector.
“There can never be effective relationship between communities and mining companies if the companies do not engage communities to hear their problems and help in developing areas they are doing their mining activities,” Labana said.
He said the new mining act that government is consulting on should seriously consider expectations of people living within mining areas so that they profit from minerals in their areas.
Balaka District Director of Planning and Development, David Gondwe, said holding local mining indabas where communities discuss common issues and develop joint action plans should be stepped up because the people have a say on how minerals being exploited in their areas are being utilised.
“The district assembly facilitates the process of acquiring mining land and civic educates communities on their rights and responsibilities as regards mining in the area,” Gondwe said.
Balaka Lime Works Company managing director, Wahid Pillane, said people have a right to claim development from companies doing mining in their areas as they have a title to the land being exploited.
“Much as we don’t make much profit from lime making, it would be realistic to help the people with small projects such as boreholes, classroom blocks or maize seed so that they also benefit from the minerals in their area,” Pillane said.
He said about 50 people benefit from his company through employment while others sell their raw limestone to the company.
Tonse tipindule is a project funded by Tilitonse to the tune of K38million.
Qmam is implementing the project in Balaka and Mangochi.