7 MAY 2021
By Evance Chisiano, Mana
A UK mining company, Lancaster Exploration Limited has for drilling 22 boreholes in Phalombe District where it is venturing into mining of rare earth, as part of its corporate social responsibilities.
The company is also providing education support to children and besides maintaining roads prompting commendations from the Member of Parliament (MP) for Phalombe North East, Denis Namachekecha for providing basic amenities to the constituency.
The parliamentarian made the remarks in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Wednesday at Songwe hills mining site, Mauzi in Phalombe where the Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima inspected preliminary works by the company.
Namachekecha said the company provided school materials to learners at Changa, Mangazi and Mphembezu Primary Schools and was also providing scholarship to over 31 students in various districts and national secondary schools apart from providing university scholarship to two students from Phalombe North East.
He also commended the mining company for employing casual labourers from the area in the exploration and testing stages of the mining.
“We’re expecting the company to employ many people from this area once full scale mining starts,” he said while looking forward to more mining related development such as electricity, piped water and good roads.
Namachekecha also anticipated national economic growth saying the rare earth is a forex earner saying it has a great value on the international market.
In an interview after winding up tour of Phalombe and Mulanje, Chilima described the Phalombe mining venture as game changer saying this is reflecting well to the country’s industrialization aspirations.
The Vice President was taken on a tour of the base of Songwe Hills where large scale mining of the rare earth is expected for many years.
The Lancaster Exploration Limited President, Alexander Lemon said Songwe Hills has large deposits of rare earth in millions of tones.
Discovery of the rare earth was done in 1930 following a geological survey and later the Japanese
International Cooperation Agency (JICA) did another geo survey in collaboration with Malawi Geological Survey Department in the 1980s to ascertain quantity, according to Lemon.
Rare earth is used to manufacture electronics for cell phones, x-ray machines and largely used in manufacturing of electric vehicles.
Songwe Hill mining site is closer to Mpoto Lagoon and also closer to Mozambique border in the North Eastern part of Phalombe.