Gaffar (in blue shirt) during a visit to Ilomba last year
Member of Parliament for Chitipa South says a mining company which has been operating in the district for 25 years has only constructed two boreholes despite promising to implement various development project.
The legislator, Werani Chilenga, who is also a former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, made the remarks in Parliament on Monday after Minister of Mining Rashid Gaffar presented a ministerial statement.
In responding to questions after the statement, Gaffar noted that the Granite being mined at Ilomba is one of the best and is used to build magnificent buildings.
He added that government has not renewed the licence for the miner, Ilomba Mining Company, as it is waiting for the company to reach an agreement with the surrounding communities on development projects.
“But we are encouraging him. That miner has been there for 25 years, he has invested his life in the mine for 25 years as well and has not benefited anything. He made a deal with the Chinese, and the Chinese sent samples outside the country and run away,” said Gaffar.
However, Chilenga faulted the minister for praising the miner that he has invested a lot instead of feeling sorry for the community, saying the miner has only constructed two boreholes in the area over the past 25 years.
“Is it in order for the people of Illomba to get two boreholes in 25 years and call that an investment?” asked Chilenga.
But Gaffar in his response said Chilenga has in the past been a minister responsible for mining but he has only been in the role for about a year.
“I will make sure that I get the best for the people of Illomba,” said Gaffar.
He added that the policy of his ministry now is that any miner should reach an agreement with surrounding community before getting a licence.
Ilomba Mining Company has been at loggerheads with locals for years as the company is accused of failing to implement development projects which it promised to carry out before its licence expired.