Politics & General News

Outcry As Chinese Miners Scoop Precious Stones From Malawi Communities

For three years, 26-year-old Granger Chizeve has known only one job: cropping rose quartz gemstones at a mining site owned by Chinese nationals and their local partner in northern Malawi.Malawi is endowed with vast mineral resources such as gemstones, rubies, gold, niobium, sand dust lime, and others, but the southern African country remains one of the poorest in the world.Chizeve from Mzimba in the northern region is one of the Malawians toiling in foreign-owned mines for precious stones such as rose quartz and amethyst“I have little to show for my work at the mine,” he said. “My village remains the same like it was in our grandfather’s days. We still lack a clinic and clean water.”His community under group village headman Mchapasalu Geoffrey Evans Mtika does not have any development projects that can be traced to the Chinese working in the mines within their villages.Mtika said the Chinese working with their local partners have been operating in the area for three years, but have done nothing for the community living around the mining sites.“These Chinese have been in our area since 2019, but us as the owners of the land where they were extracting rose quartz we have benefited nothing,” he said.“We requested them to help us with electricity connectivity, but they only gave us US$120 (MK100, 000) when the project requires millions for Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM) to connect us to the grid.”Communities in Mbobo, Mchapasalu, Phazima, and Kadumudumu where the mines are located said they were not benefiting anything from the presence of the Chinese, who are exploiting their natural resources.They blame the situation on lack of enforcement of appropriate laws that were put in place to force foreign investors to invest in areas where they set up operations.

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