Malawi has one of the largest reserves of unexploited coal. Where does the coal go and what is it used for the little that is being mined? The availbility of coal is a blessing that is not being used to bless Malawi.
1. Eletricity generation:
Currently Malawian households and businesses suffer from blackouts. As a result of blackouts it makes Malawi an expensive business place as companies end up using generators for power. As we turn 50 years of independence Escom should by now have consturcted atleast three coal powered thermal stations. One in Blantyre for the Southren region, one in Lilongwe for the Central region and one in Mzuzu for the Northren region. With the power deficit in the SADC region Malawi could have been exporting electricity and widen her forex inflow generation.
2. Road consturction:
In the construction industry coal can be used to make tar mainly for road construction. In recent years Malawi has witnessed alot of road development, but in most cases the tar is being imported from Hwange, Zimbabwe which makes it expense to construct roads in Malawi. You look at the cost of importing tar its also a drian of forex in the economy.
3. Forex inflow
Coal can also be a source of forex inflow for Malawi. Coal is on high demand in china, India, Brazil and other emerging markets. Its a Ready market for Malawian coal.
4. Empolyment and tax:
The mining of coal contributes towards the improvement of peoples livelihoods especially those working in the Mines and the surrounding communities. The government might provides incentives such as tax rebates to the mining companies but empolyee salaries are a source of income through taxation.
The mining of coal in Malawi should be done for the benefit of the nation. Mining is capital intensive government should find reputable international partners to mine coal in Malawi.