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The History and Future of Gold Mining in Malawi

Malawi is an exciting new gold producing country in Africa. The county has great potential as a gold producer given the fact that most of its gold resources remain unexplored.

In the past, gold produced in Malawi was by small scale artisanal miners along the rivers. However, the recent signing of gold exploration and development agreements with a number of multinational gold miners is about to put the country on the map of major gold producers in Africa.

Although gold occurrences have been known in several places within the country, no major large-scale gold production is done in the country. This presents a perfect opportunity for anyone interested in investing in gold in the country. The government further makes it easy for you to invest in the country’s gold sector as it has been actively looking for investors to help develop the country’s gold resources.

History of Gold Mining in Malawi


Gold mining in Malawi has a long history that dates back to the time of Vasco de Gama. History books shows that when the Portuguese first visited the east coast of Africa in the 15th century they were able to trade with locals in gold especially near the Limpopo River. Most of this gold came from inland countries such as the modern day Malawi. Most of the early miners mined gold along the rivers for trader.

The first gold discovery by foreigners was by the white settlers in 1910. Most these gold deposits were small scale and not much commercial mining was done on them although the white continued mining until when the country gained independence and most of the whites left. Today gold deposits have been reported in several places within the country. These were primarily placer deposits that have not been fully explored even to this day.

Some of the major gold deposits under review for further development include the following.

Lisungwe Valley-Kirk Range

This is one of the well-known gold deposits in the country. The Lisungwe Valley is located 55km west of Zomba. Most of the alluvial gold mined by artisanal miners came from this valley. The river valley has great potential for gold mining with the richest place being the Little Cisumbiti area. Currently further gold explorations are taking place in the area to determine the amount of gold within the deposit.

Nathenje Area Gold deposit

The Nathenje area at the central Malawi, towards the south of Lilongwe has important gold deposits in the country. Gold was first discovered in this area in the 1960s during a geochemical mapping of the country. Further studies of the area reveal that most of the gold hare are found in sulphide rich bands of graphitic garnet-biotite-clinopyroxene gneiss. In the recent past the ministry of mining has engaged in further studies of the gold deposits to determine if it’s viable for a commercial mining plant to be established in the area.

Unga River

This river is one of the oldest sources of gold in the county. The locals mined gold in this river for many years during the pre-colonial period. However, official records shows that gold was first discovered in the river in 1936 during a reconnaissance survey by the colonial government in the Mangochi¬ Makanjila area.

A more intensive exploration was carried out in 1937 but, was concluded after it was discovered that the gold bearing rock veins where thin and sporadically spread for any meaningful commercial gold mining to take place. Recent exploration of the river suggests the gold in the river may have been derived from a major gold deposit up stream. Further studies are underway for the gold deposits on the river.

Also Read: Gold Mining in Mozambique, East Africa

And: Mining Gold in the Rivers in Madagascar

Dwangwa River

The Dwangwa River is another important alluvial gold source in the country. Gold on the river were first documented in 1908 by the white settlers. Early explorations where done by the British South African Company in 1938 but not much was done afterwards.

The government of Malawi was been working hard in the recent past to ensure the country catches up with the bandwagon of large scale gold mining countries in Africa. This can be seen by the number of exploration licenses the government has issues to foreign based companies.

Some of the leading players in the countries gold mining sector include Mota-Engil Africa (which has license for Kasungu, Lisungwe, Tundulu, Dwangwa, , Malingunde, Lake Chilwa, and Mwanza Fault target) the South East African Mining (SEAM) (which owns the Dwangwa project), the Cape Town Mining (which runs the Indaba project) and the Canada-listed Mkango Resources, which is exploring the Songwe Hill license area.

Next: Tanzania: 4th Largest Gold Producer in Africa

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