A huge rock sample loaded in a container headed for China has shocked Malawians.
Malawians have expressed concern that the country is losing a lot of raw minerals which are being exported in huge quantities as samples.
Pictures of the huge rock placed in a container have been shared widely on social media. Minister of Mining Rashid Gaffar and other officials from the ministry were also at the site.
Reports say the rock contains Quartz and was being taken to China where it was to be tested as a sample.
“The Ministry of Mining is a criminal enterprise and has been at the forefront of destroying our country. Most of its leadership should be in jail as we speak,” said social commentator Onjezani Kenani in a Facebook post.
“The Problem is the Mining Law in Malawi is still volatile as it allows a holders of a License to export any prospective mineral as ‘samples’,” said one social media user on Kenani’s post.
While another said: “All these things happen but nothing works for the country. Does the president know? Ministry of Mining is the most useless of all ministries. They’ve never made mineral mining to benefit the country. Do we really need a fully-fledged ministry or just a department under OPC until we get a serious president like Magufuli? It pains when we see all neighbors busy exploring and exploiting their mineral deposits for development. Here, it is left to locals (including foreign individuals) to dig the earth with holes, shelves, picks and hands. What’s the matter?”
However, there are also claims that the rock was confiscated from Chinese illegal miners who mined the mineral in Rumphi. The Illegal miners were fined K21 million in court and after the trial the rock was sold to other exporters.
“That’s what happened here this week, where the new buyer after Court case had to get necessary mineral export permits to export through Manica containers. [In the picture] the Minister of Mining n other Ministry officials were visiting Manica premises before shipment,” wrote Gibson Nyirenda.
According to Kenani, the Ministry of Mining has since stopped the illegal exportation of the rock.