A Joint Liaison Committee of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve has bemoaned increasing illegal gold mining activities taking place in the reserve.
The committee disclosed this during a meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change in Lilongwe.
According to Director in the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Brighton Kumchedwa, close to a thousand people surrounding the reserve are engaging in illegal extraction of gold in Bua river which snakes through the reserve and that the illegal mining activities are a threat to wildlife.
Kumchedwa said: “This is happening on the fringes of wildlife reserve which is already at a big threat.”
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee’s chairperson, Welani Chilenga, has faulted the Ministry of Mining for its management failure and that members of the committee will tour the reserve to appreciate the extent of damage and make recommendations.
“The issues they have raised are very worrisome and it’s not the first time our committee has come across such issues of illegal mining of gold in the country.” Said Chilenga.
He further said as a committee they will engage the Ministry from next week, Monday, and together they will visit the area so that proper recommendations can be made.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is the largest and oldest wildlife reserve in Malawi with an area of 1,800 km2 with a spectacular site of hills, valleys and rivers on the steep western escarpment of the Great Rift Valley.