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Friday, 25 July 2014 09:05

Government geared to promote ASM to boost the country’s mining sector

Written by  Memory Kutengule

Blantyre, July 25: Government says it is geared to train Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM) in order to boost the country’s mining sector.

 

The Ministry of Natural Resources Energy and Mining Public Relations Officer responsible for mining, Levison Wesley Undi said currently the country has about 22,000 Malawians that are involved in ASM most of whom lack adequate training and capital among others resulting in low productivity.

 

“Many ASMs are informal and unsustainable in nature with little collaboration with larger private mining companies.

 

“As such a good number of them lack training, capital and  appropriate technology  which results in low productivity,  environmental degradation and poor occupational health and safety outcomes,” said Undi.

 

He said it is for this reason that the ministry is currently making efforts in the mining sector by setting plans to train several ASM groups, with the latest being the most vibrant groups,  Kanono in Balaka and Njereza in Ntcheu.

 

“Once trained, the groups will be organised into cooperatives with support from the Ministry of Trade and One Village one Product (OVOP),” explained Undi in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday.

 

The first ever ASM Policy that will aid the training is in final stages and the ministry is planning to convene a final stakeholders’ meeting to fine tune the policy document before it is submitted to cabinet for approval, according to the ministry’s spokesperson.

 

“This draft functional review report proposed a dedicated department to focus on ASM.

 

“Besides, the ministry recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FDH Bank which outlines that the Bank should provide access to capital and financial education to small-scale miners in its quest to enhance the promotion of ASM in the country,” he explained.

 

For a long time, the small scale miners have been facing a number of challenges that include lack of appropriate technology leading to poor and low productivity as such government saw the need to promote ASM in order to boost the mining sector in the country.

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