A gold rush ensued in the areas of Paramount Chief Kawinga, Senior Chief Liwonde and Traditional Authority Nsanama where scores of locals are digging for the precious metal in and along Bilira River.
A visit to Bushiri Village in the district revealed that many villagers, including women, were excavating and panning for the alluvial gold.
The visit revealed that a gramme of gold was being bought at an average price of K25, 000.
District Commissioner for Machinga, Rosemary Nawasha and Paramount Chief Kawinga confirmed that about 800 families in the areas are taking part in the mining.
Kawinga said since the gold fever started, many people from his area are benefiting from the activity.
He said most of the land in the district is rocky, therefore not suitable for growing crops such as maize and others.
“The discovery of gold has provided something to do for the people in this area,” Kawinga said.
Nawasha said the Kauniuni mapping exercise that government conducted across the country did not show the presence of gold in Machinga.
“We have just heard a few months ago that in the three areas, people are finding traces of gold.
“There were rumours that some of the miners are coming from Ntcheu, Balaka and within Machinga district,” Nawasha said.
Speaking after touring the mining site, Mining Minister, Rashid Gaffar, said government will work with the people of the area to make the mining process legal.
Gaffar said what the Tonse Alliance Government of President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima want is for the mining to benefit the people of Malawi.
According to Gaffar, what is happening in Machinga is similar to what is happening in Nathenje, Lilongwe and Makanjira, Mangochi.
“What we are encouraging the people is to form cooperatives which we would easily work with as far as provision of loans as well as other support.
“Once they are registered, we should be able to link them to financial organisations which could give them loans to buy modern equipment to do their mining,” Gaffar said.
He added that, the corporatives should also think of investing in the areas where they are doing the mining.
“It is our hope that one day one of the corporatives could build a school, hospital and other facilities from the proceeds of gold mining,” Gaffar said.
One of the gold diggers, Prosper Kasinga asked the government to help them with proper equipment for excavating the gold.
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