African countries are embracing digital mineral rights management system and online portals to improve the way mineral rights are awarded and managed. And the latest country to join the fray is Malawi, which is known as an exporter of uranium, Mining Governance and Growth Support Project (MGGSP).
Through a $25 million loan from the World Bank, Malawi will utilise Spatial Dimension’s FlexiCadastre, which is a standard product in most African countries.
According to FlexiCadastre Consultant, Charles Young, the new system will create transparency in the mining sector. “The technology will include an internal mining cadastre system for different government departments to use and a mineral rights web portal that will be accessible to the public. The internal system is based on the business processes of a licence and modelled on Malawi’s legislation. It will therefore integrate applications, licencing, mapping, monitoring and revenue management at the least,” he says.
Gibson Nyirenda, Senior Mining Engineer responsible for the Mineral Rights Section at the Department of Mines, foresees current challenges of the mineral rights management system being addressed through the development of FlexiCadastre. “Paper-based licence and manual GIS-based systems make it complicated and time consuming to handle large application volumes which means applicants often have to wait a long time for a response on applications for licences.”
With the current system, at present, stakeholders such as Malawi Revenue Authority, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Secretariat and the Geological Survey Department are not able to access data easily, results in poor stakeholder communication, points out. This, he says, results in a loss of government revenue and also serve as a disincentive and cost to investors.
Young says Malawi faces the following challenges in the mineral rights management:
- disparate databases
- no central database
- poor overlap validation of licences
- lack of proactive remedies
- no external notifications (on fees owed and expiry, for example)
- limited standardised reporting
- poor system integration
Information credits: Mining in Malawi