Leaders of Mulanje Concerned Citizens have turned down a plea from Spring Stone Mining Limited for them to vacate a permanent injunction which is restraining the company from continuing with its rare earth exploration on Mulanje Mountain.
Spring Stone Limited, which is carrying out exploration activities in Malawi’s Mulanje Mountain, was handed a permanent court injunction by the High Court in Blantyre to cease activities in January of this year.
The citizen’s spokesperson Bon Kalindo disclosed, on Tuesday, that a team from the company’s base in Japan landed into the country to convince them to vacate the injunction, a plea which he said, they turned down.
“Yes, I can confirm that a team from Spring Stone’s base, Japan, accompanied by Mining Minister Ibrahim Matola, tried to convince us to vacate the injunction, but we refused and asked them to give us more time to consult the owners of the case, the local citizens in Mulanje, who will be at the receiving end of environmental degradation that will follow this mining exercise,” said Kalindo.
Spring Stone, a joint venture of the Canadian Gold Canyon Resources and Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), was in its second drilling phase of the rare earth exploration project, when the disputes with the local community erupted.
The Communities demanded the stoppage of the activities arguing they are robbed of the mountain’s nature.
Among other issues the people are not comfortable with the depth at which they (Spring Stone) are digging in their explorations on the mountain.
The injunction was also extended to Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) which was ordered to stop their activities on the mountain and leave the area or risk being driven out by force.
The group, comprising over a hundred village and group village headmen from Traditional Authority, Mkanda’s area in the district, accused Spring Stone and MMCT of destroying ‘the once beautiful’ natural resource (Mulanje Mountain) which they said had for many years attracted tourists and helped to uplift the livelihood of citizens in Mulanje.
Field manager of Spring Stone Limited Lio Kojima was not available for comment went we went to the press.
The Malawi government through the ministry of energy and mines awarded Spring Stone a licence to carry out explorations for bauxite and rear earth on Chambe base on Mulanje Mountain.