Minister of Mining, Albert Mbawala, says government has planned to construct a K5 Billion worth state- owned mining company in Lilongwe to be operational by December this year.
Speaking in an interview recently at Kayerekera Uranium Mine, Mbawala said the government will need 5 million US Dollars which is equivalent to K5 billion for the construction of the company.
“The plans are underway to have a state-owned mining company. This company will be doing a lot of things. First and foremost, it will be the carrier or the manager of the freehold carrier of shareholding of the government. So it will be this company managing that free hold carrier in these companies. Secondly this company will go into actual mining. They will have their own mines. They will do the exploration. They will also have equipment to do the actual mining where all benefits will be channeled to the country’s development,” Mbawala said.
He said the company will also have laboratory equipment where testing of the minerals will be conducted avoiding investors taking samples outside the country.
“We want them to house the state of the art laboratory equipment so that we are able to test each and every mineral here. When investors come and want to do their own testing, they should test it in our state owned company and we will also get revenue from that because we will charge them for that,” he said.
The minister further said the company will avoid investors taking minerals out of the country saying Malawi will benefit from their company through revenue collection.
According to Mbawala the government has a 15% stake in Kayerekera Mine though it has recently not been productive because it has been changing hands of ownership due to erratic unstable uranium prices on the global market.
He said government is not making money because the mine is not in operational which also makes government lose a lot of money in form of taxes, dividends creation of jobs was not there.
“People are now retrenched. We only have 17 Malawian employees out of 800 employees. So you can now that as Malawi we lost and we are still losing a lot because the mine is not in operation,” he added.
On his part, Kayerekera Uranium Mine General Manager, Theo Keyter said it is not clear at to when they will resume working at the mine.
He said the uranium prices are now going towards positive direction saying this is giving them hope that they would start anytime soon.
Livingstonia and Chilumba would be other sites where mining will take place if the deposits sent to South Africa for testing come out positive.