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On 12th April 2024, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Karonga Diocese had an interface meeting with members of Kalombo Kalira Village together with Wasambo Mining Committee on the state of an illegal coal mine which was operating in their community and to address grievances arising from the illegal coal mining operation.

“We signed an agreement with the mine owner that he would pay us for the land and the damage that would be done to the surrounding pieces of land as we had been using it for farming and two months after mining activities had begun, they ceased operations, but we still had not been paid a single kwacha. They resumed works in January 2024 only to stop again shortly after and we reported to the mining committee once again,” says YK who is one of the owners of the land the mining is being carried out.

A poorly constructed mining shaft under construction.

Group Village Head Kamthendenga who is also the chairperson for Wasambo Mining Committee in a separate interview stated that the investor is considered to be an illegal mine operator as they are still in the process of being issued a mining license as such they are not allowed to carry out mining works. “They have not been following set mining guidelines such as payment of compensations, wages, carrying out corporate social responsibility activities and setting of proper structures at the mine,” he said.

GVH Kamthendeni (L) with CCJP Officer Hope Mlenga at the illegal mine.

“It is sad to note that this illegal mine investor is taking advantage of the vulnerable and unknowledgeable people. CCJP in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders will continue to sensitize and work with the community to address the challenges they face due to this mine; that is compensations, salaries and corporate social responsibilities” said Hope Mlenga officer for CCJP Karonga Diocese.

The interface meeting was held as an initiative under the Fighting Inequalities Project which CCJP Karonga Diocese is implementing with support from Norwegian Church Aid and DanChurch Aid Joint Country Programme.

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