2024-06-13

Gemologist Yamikani Jimusole dangles financing solutions for mining sector

0

In Malawi,there has been an always decrease in the number of local companies looking to invest in the mining sector.

However, in a country where mining sector regulations are woefully inadequate but where the government seems determined to attract more investors, it is important to adopt local and vibrant approaches which ensure that the benefits of mining are maximized and that its adverse community-level impacts are minimized.

In this article, our reporter Chisomo Phiri talked to Yamikani Jimusole, a graduate gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA),and the founder of Yami Gemstone Lab & Exports Pvt Ltd.

His company YAGLE, has been actively involved in the gemstone industry for over a decade, with official registration in 2018 and full incorporation in 2022.

Jimusole’s journey in the industry encompasses research, exploration, and mining, leading to the discovery of over 25 different types of gemstones across Malawi.

He is also behind many gemstone discoveries, including three aquamarine and rose quartz mines in Mzimba district.

Recently, Jimusole has identified a vast deposit of rubies and gold in Mangochi, spanning an impressive 25,000 hectares.

He is probably one of only two active accredited Gemologists in Malawi, contributing to the advancement of the mining industry in the country.

Now having noticed that there is inadequate financing solutions in the mining industry, Jimusole says he has plans to open an investment bank called YAGLE Investment Bank. Below is how the two interacted in the interview;

Chisomo: Tell us more about YAGLE Investment Bank?

Jimusole: YAGLE Investment Bank is a financial institution dedicated to supporting the extractive industry, primarily focusing on gemstone and mineral extraction. It is a pivotal component of our vision to revolutionize the gemstone and mining industry in Malawi. The bank aims to provide financial support, investment opportunities, and essential resources to local businesses and entrepreneurs involved in the mining sector. Our goal is to facilitate growth, enhance expertise, and contribute to the nation’s economic development by addressing the critical financial gap in the industry.

Chisomo: What motivated you to have plans of introducing this bank bank?

Jimusole: The introduction of YAGLE Investment Bank is rooted in the recognition of a critical gap in the financial sector, particularly within the extractive industry. We realized that local businesses in the mining sector, especially gemstone mining, face significant challenges in accessing the capital and resources they need to grow and thrive. This financial constraint hampers the sector’s ability to realize its full potential and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth. We are introducing the bank to fill this gap, promote sustainability, and stimulate economic growth in the mining industry.

Chisomo: When are you planning to open the bank?

Jimusole: We are actively working on the establishment of YAGLE Investment Bank with the aspiration to launch it before 2028. Our goal is to expedite the process, ensuring that it becomes operational as soon as possible. By achieving this, we aim to help Malawi meet its 2063 development goals ahead of schedule, potentially even earlier than 2050. Our team is fully committed to turning this vision into reality.

Chisomo: What will be done at YAGLE Investment Bank?

Jimusole: YAGLE Investment Bank will offer a range of services tailored to the unique needs of the extractive industry, particularly gemstone and mineral extraction. These services will include lending, investment advisory, and various financial products designed to facilitate growth in the sector. The bank will provide financial support to local businesses and entrepreneurs involved in mining, helping them access the capital needed for equipment, technology, and operational expansion. Additionally, the bank will play a role in promoting ethical and sustainable mining practices within the industry.

Chisomo: What has been done so far in establishing this bank?

Jimusole: Currently, we are in the planning phases of establishing YAGLE Investment Bank. We are carefully considering the best approach for launching the bank, including whether to start from scratch or potentially acquire an existing bank. A crucial step in this process is appraising our gemstone inventory. The proceeds from selling these gemstones will be instrumental in facilitating the establishment of the bank. We are also in discussions with various stakeholders, financial experts, and regulatory authorities to ensure that the bank is in full compliance with all necessary regulations and standards.

Chisomo: What is your call to the government?

Jimusole: Our call to the government is to recognize the immense potential of the gemstone and mining industry in Malawi. We ask for support for initiatives like YAGLE Investment Bank that aim to stimulate growth and development in this sector. Collaboration between the government and private enterprises is essential in realizing the full potential of the industry. We also encourage the government to continue its efforts in providing a conducive environment for gemstone and mineral extraction.

Furthermore, we urge the government to ensure that minerals are sustainably harnessed. The gemstone industry alone has the potential to generate billions of dollars annually for the nation. Malawi is blessed with an abundance of valuable gemstones, including rubies, sapphires, grandidierite, aquamarine, spinel, zircon, and more. It is high time for the government to prioritize and focus on this sector’s development. If possible, the establishment of a state mining company can play a pivotal role in efficiently harnessing these resources.

A recent example that highlights the sector’s potential is the office of the attorney general’s claim of $309.6 billion from a mining company. This demonstrates just how lucrative the sector can be and the significant revenue it can generate for the country. We believe that by giving due attention to the gemstone and mining industry, Malawi can not only boost its economic growth but also ensure the sustainable and responsible extraction of its mineral wealth.

Chisomo: What is your call to the Ministry of Mining?

Jimusole: We call upon the Ministry of Mining, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, to ensure that the sector has enough expertise to support its growth. Currently, there is only one accredited Gemologist in the civil service commission, and there is a glaring absence of accredited jewelry appraisers. This deficiency means that we are exporting these minerals without knowing their true market value.

While the Reserve Bank of Malawi is buying gemstones through the Reserve Bank, the Ministry of Mines needs to provide expertise and ensure proper industry standards are followed. This includes the establishment of proper grading and pricing scales. We urge the Ministry to invest in education and training in the field of gemology and appraisal to enhance the sector’s capacity and value. This will promote ethical practices, transparency, and the true valuation of our gemstone resources. It is essential for the Ministry to play an active role in ensuring that the gemstone industry operates at the highest standards and benefits the nation as a whole.

Chisomo: What minerals will be allowed to be sold via your bank?

Jimusole: YAGLE Investment Bank will have a broad scope, not limited solely to gemstones. While our primary focus will be on minerals and gemstones related to the extractive industry, such as aquamarine, rubies, sapphires, grandidierite, aquamarine, tourmaline, zircon, spinel, and other valuable gemstones, we will also extend trading to encompass a diverse range of industrial and critical minerals. These may include minerals like graphite, copper, Niobium, lithium, manganese, nickel, and many more. Our aim is to facilitate the trade and financing of a wide spectrum of minerals, further contributing to the growth and development of Malawi’s mining sector.

Chisomo: How do you see the mining industry in Malawi and where it needs improvement?

Jimusole: The mining industry in Malawi, although it has roots dating back centuries, is still regarded as an infant industry with immense untapped potential. The nation has confirmed the availability of a wide range of valuable minerals. However, to fully benefit from this wealth, there is a pressing need for measures and improvements.

The government must take proactive steps to unlock the industry’s potential. This includes strengthening infrastructure to facilitate efficient mining operations, enhancing regulatory frameworks to ensure responsible and transparent mining practices, and promoting ethical standards across the sector. Additionally, increasing access to finance and expertise for local miners and businesses is crucial.

One significant aspect that demands attention is the training of professionals who can proficiently negotiate deals on behalf of Malawians. These skilled negotiators will be instrumental in ensuring that the nation receives fair and equitable returns from its mining endeavors. By addressing these areas, Malawi can transform its mining industry into a cornerstone of economic growth and prosperity.

Chisomo: What are your future plans for the mining industry in Malawi?

Jimusole: Our future plans for the mining industry in Malawi are expansive and driven by our commitment to the nation’s economic growth. We are dedicated to furthering our role in transforming the industry:

Firstly, Private Gemstone Laboratory:We plan to launch the first private gemstone laboratory in Malawi. This cutting-edge facility will enable precise gemstone evaluation, certification, and quality control, ensuring that Malawian gemstones meet the highest industry standards.

Secondly, Gemological and Entrepreneurship Institute:In addition to the laboratory, we intend to open a Gemological and Entrepreneurship Institute. This institute will offer specialized education in gemology, equipping aspiring professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the industry. It will also integrate entrepreneurship education, fostering a culture of business acumen and innovation among our future leaders.

Thirdly,Expanding into Gas and Petroleum Exploration:
We have plans to expand our mining projects beyond gemstones to include gas and petroleum exploration. By venturing into these energy resources, we aim to contribute to Malawi’s energy transition and the global shift towards cleaner energy sources.

These future endeavors align with our vision of making Malawi a mining and gemstone hub, creating opportunities for economic growth, skill development, and environmental responsibility. We are committed to driving the industry towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Chisomo: What are your closing remarks?

Jimusole: In closing, it is essential to recognize that Malawi is blessed with abundant resources that have the potential to last for centuries. What we need is a commitment to adopting the latest technology in the extractive industry to harness these minerals responsibly. As the world undergoes a significant transition to green technologies, there is an increasing global demand for raw materials. Malawi is fortunate to possess world-class deposits of these critical resources.

YAGLE is dedicated to being a catalyst for this transformation and believes in the transformative power of the gemstone and mining industry for Malawi’s economic growth. We look forward to contributing to the nation’s journey towards a more sustainable and economically vibrant future.

We invite all stakeholders, government bodies, and industry players to join us in this endeavor. By working together, we can ensure that Malawi’s mineral wealth is harnessed responsibly and for the benefit of all. Together, we can build a brighter future for Malawi’s extractive industry and the nation as a whole.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *