Lack of labs affect Mineral exports in Malawi

Lack of labs affect Mineral exports in Malawi

Luka Beston
The Malawi government has singled out lack of accredited laboratories in the country as a major setback affecting the mineral exports drive. 
This has been revealed in the just released 2020/2021 Government Annual Economic report. According to the report, in the just ended fiscal year, the country exported raw minerals such as ornamental dimension stones, gemstones, lime products, rock chip samples and soil samples to China which is the biggest mineral market.
The report has indicated that 926. 5 tonnes of ornamental dimension stones exported, had an inflow of MK227.5 million, 12 tonnes of gemstones raked in MK92.1 million, 2,790 tonnes of lime products brought in MK110.2 million, 6.6 tonnes of rock chip samples realized MK2.2 million while 7.2 tonnes of soil samples fetched MK3.3 million.
However, the report has revealed that lack of accredited modern mineral laboratories in the country is contributing to the low mineral exports and growth of the industry.
The report has since highlighted that this is the case because when exporting minerals, royalties are charged upon determination of the value of the samples to avoid misconceptions and any bulk sampling for a company has to be duly authorized based on purpose. 
Reacting to the development, one of the country’s mining experts Grain Malinga has urged the government to stop political rhetoric and partner with the mining companies to establish an accredited laboratory in the country. 
"The government needs to show seriousness by partnering with the mining companies to establish an accredited laboratory in the country. This would give confidence to the money lending institutions to support the growth of the industry". Malunga said.
Currently, to test mineral samples, Malawi relies on laboratories in Australia, South Africa, Crop Nutrition laboratory services in Kenya and Thin section laboratory in France.
Meanwhile, according to the report, in 2021/2022 financial year treasury has projected 1, 019.2 tonnes of minerals which will generate MK250.3 million.

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