MUBAS Lands on 25 Million Metric Tonnes of Lime Deposit, Leap Towards Industrization

News   Peter Bwanali and Lucy Isaac   June 17, 2024
PIC: Mining exploration in progress at Chemkumbi in Balaka
Government has commended the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) for its initiative to embark on an ambitious project to venture into limestone mining and set up a lime manufacturing factory. This project will create employment for the communities around the area and also promote industrialization in the country.

Minister of Mining, Monica Chang’anamuno, MP, made these remarks on 8th June 2024 in Balaka where MUBAS through its commercial company, MUBAS Commercial Limited (MCL) is conducting lime mining exploration in Chemkumbi Village. She said the project will assist in promoting local production of lime which is in tandem with the aspiration of Malawi as stipulated in the Malawi 2063 agenda.

"As a Country, we have lagged in terms of industrialization and import substitution which has led the country to depend highly on imported limestone products for our necessities. The project under development is a true testimony that the nation can produce high-quality lime based on the limestone samples which are available in the area. The stones in the area have a high concentration of calcium which is an indication of high-quality deposits of lime which we can use to produce lime products which include lime for the construction, agriculture industries, cement production and other accessories. As a nation we need more of these projects in Malawi so that we can be exporting our products to other countries,’’ she said.

Chang’anamuno added that the mining industry in the country can only grow if all mining licensees demonstrate commitment to their projects in the manner MCL has shown us. 

She said: "I am extremely excited about this project’s progress. MCL just got its license in April 2024 and the work they have already done so far is substantive. I am encouraged with what they are doing and am also happy that everyone involved in this project here is Malawian and we want a lot of Malawians to be involved in all such projects.’’  

In her remarks, Minister of Education, Madalitso Kambauwa-Wirima who was also part of the delegation which toured the site said commercial ventures such as the one being undertaken by MUBAS at Chemkumbi village will assist the university to be self-sustaining and inspire entrepreneurial spirit among its students.

"By engaging in commercial activities like mining, the university will be able to have some financial independence as well as providing space for its students to gain practical hands-on- experience,’’ she said.

 Concurring with Wirima, MUBAS Vice-Chancellor, Associate Professor Nancy Chitera said once the lime factory is established, it will act as a living laboratory for mining students, where they will gain practical experience to enhance their knowledge.

"The factory which will be put here will provide an opportunity to our graduates not only to have only theoretical skills but that our graduates should have practical and prerequisite skills in mining which we shall all be proud of,’’ said Chitera.

She added that every MUBAS student is required as part of the fulfilment of the requirement for the award of their degrees to undergo for industrial attachment of not less than four months with the industry to complete their study programme. 

The exploration exercise is being led by Dr. Joshua Chisambi, Head of Mining Department at MUBAS and is being assisted by MCL Acting General Manager, Dr. Tiyamike Banda and Gift Tsokonombwe, a geologist by profession and lecturer in mining.  

"We have identified three potential sites which we have targeted exploration to enable us to understand the vertical extent of the lime deposit. We are working with the Geological Survey Department in the exploration excise,’’ said Tsokonombwe.

Despite sitting on vast potential limestone deposits, most of the people in Chemkombi village live in relative poverty and depend on traditional lime making which poses health risks to the people and has led to massive deforestation in the area.

Yasin Botomu, one of the villagers working on the exploration site said that some families are already benefiting from the presence of MCL in the area because of the exploration exercise as some members of the village have been recruited as temporary workers with MCL.

"We are hopeful that once MCL finally sets up a factory in the area, the area will develop tremendously which will lead to improved lifestyles for the communities around the project area. There have been several people flocking into this site seeking employment with MCL and this has excited us,’’ said Botomu.

The exploration is being funded by MUBAS.


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