Engineering and Technology Quarterly Reviews
Published: 14 December 2020
Assessment of the Scale of Artisanal Mining in Bangwe Township, Blantyre
University of Malawi
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Keywords: Bangwe Hill, Mpingwe Hill, Mining Method, Quarrying, Small Scale Mining, Social Enhancement
Even though mining contributes less than 1 % to Malawi’s gross domestic product (GDP), it is central to the government’s sustainable development goals strategy and spearheaded to be the backbone of Malawi’s economy. Little is known about the scale of artisanal quarry mining production, mining methods used, capital requirements, its diversity and distribution across different areas in Malawi. Present study seeks to fill that gap by assessing the scale of artisanal and small scale quarry mining activities in Bangwe Township. With a population of 170, 350, it represents 21% of the total population of Blantyre city which has 809, 397 people. The township was chosen as it is the main hub and supplier of artisanal aggregates to surrounding areas in Blantyre. In addition, the township has many unemployed youth with a high potential to get involved in artisanal mining thereby improving their lives. Most youth have a negative perception about artisanal mining as it is viewed as a non-profit making and labour intensive business. There are no gemstone mining sites in Bangwe Township. It was also found that there are 7 artisanal quarry mining sites in the township comprising Ntopwa, Mpingwe, Mvula, Number One, Namatapa, Namiyango and Chikunda. On average, each quarry mining site produces 5 wheelbarrows per day and sells at US$2.66 per wheelbarrow. As most builders require quarry for construction projects, the quarry miners sell at least 0.5 tonnes per day. The output of this study has created a database of artisanal quarry mining activities and the level of active youth involvement in artisanal mining in Bangwe Township. Policy makers will use the new knowledge to develop strategies that will foster the growth of artisanal quarry miners and empower the youth to join the artisanal mining business.
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