Artists have called for the inclusion of the Director of Culture in the mineral resources committee as a way of ensuring that cultural monuments are safeguarded from destruction by mining activities.
The call comes following a consultative workshop held in Lilongwe recently which deliberated on the Mines and Mineral Resources Bill.
According to Executive Director of Sungani Zakwathu Cultural Heritage Association Matthews Dontone Mfune, artists want the Director of Culture to be part of the committee.
Mfune, who was part of the team that presented a concept paper to the Ministry of Finance seeking a comprehensive budget for the creative industry, said they made the suggestion because they want the official to spearhead issues concerning the arts.
"We suggest the inclusion of the Director of Culture who will be able to guide the committee on whether to approve or not the applications under non-exclusive prospecting licence on the description of the potential effect of the prospecting work programme on the environment and any known monuments, shrines and relics in the requested area," reads the statement.
Mfune said their suggestion is justified in that the director of culture is the one who documents and records most cultural heritage resources including sites and monuments.
"In this case we are talking about safeguarding tangible and intangible heritage which includes historical, cultural and religious places," said Mfune.
Mfune said even the Cultural Policy calls for the safeguarding of the country's tangible and intangible heritage some of which he noted might be found in prospective mining sites.
"Malawi is also a signatory to some international conventions like Unesco conventions, AU charter on cultural industries which oblige us to safeguard cultural heritage.
"So this officer or her designated representative is the best person to technically advise the fellow committee members on whether the application to explore or start mining in a certain area is not going to damage any heritage resource," he said.