By Evance Chisiano
Phalombe, May 5, Mana: The Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima Wednesday visited Songwe Mining Site in Phalombe where UK based Lancaster Exploration Limited is expected to mine rare earth, a highly potential forex earner for Malawi for more than fifteen years.
The Vice President who expressed higher expectations on the mining venture travelled to Mauzi area in the district where preliminary geo and other feasibility testings are currently underway prior to the actual mining.
Lancaster Exploration Limited President, Alexander Lemon, briefed Chilima that Songwe Mining has potential to improve Malawi’s economy for many years as the rare earth is valuable on an international market.
He said extraction of minerals is expected to start soon after all testings are concluded adding that the mine has potential to produce millions of tons of rare earth.
Geo survey to discover the rare earth at Songwe Hill was done in 1930 and later by Japanese International Cooperation agency in 1980 where it was discovered that the hill had large deposits of rare earth enough for a large scale excavation.
The rare earth is used to manufacture electronic parts for electrical motor vehicles, x-ray equipment and communication gadgets such as cell phones.
Member of Parliament for Phalombe North East, Denis Namachekecha, was impressed with Lancester Exploration Limited’s corporate and social responsibility saying the company has already sunk more than 20 boreholes that are currently in use by communities around the mining site.
The parliamentarian expressed hope that the company will continue with a lot of cooperate and social responsibilities while contributing much to the country’s economy.
After the Songwe Mine the Vice President toured the nearly complete 250 bed Phalombe District Hospital at Migowi.
Chilima proceed to Mulanje where he was expected to inspect construction on Muloza-Chiringa road before another quarterly review of Public Sector Reforms.
Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe District Councils plus Luchenza Municipal Council are expected to present their reform reports before the Vice President.
On Tuesday the Vice President inspected construction works at Domasi Community Hospital, School of Economics at Chancellor College and construction of roads and military clinic at Cobbe Barracks in the district.
Later, he met with Zomba District Council and Zomba City Council officials that presented their public Sector Reform reports.
Chilima was impressed with the Zomba District Council’s reform reports that showed some potential of turning the council to an economic stable local authority.