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28 Aug 2017

Globe Metals and Mining lawsuit (re lack of resettlement & compensation in Malawi)


Date lawsuit was filed
28 Aug 2017
Location of Filing: Malawi
Location of Incident: Malawi
Type of Litigation: Domestic


Globe Metals & Mining Australia Mining



In August 2017, 243 members of the Kanyika community filed a lawsuit in Malawi against Globe Metals and Mining, seeking damages over the alleged lack of compensation and resettlement after the company started mining operations for its niobium project. In August 2018, the Kanyika community and the defendants agreed to mediation proceedings to resolve the dispute. In December 2019, the parties terminated the mediation after failing to reach a settlement. The lawsuit is expected to resume in 2020.

Factual background

In 2006, Globe Metals and Mining (Globe Metals) launched the “Kanyika Niobium Project” to mine and extract minerals in the Kanyika Area after obtaining permission from the Government of Malawi. This area has been occupied by the Kanyika community for hundreds of years, and it claims that it has never been consulted by Globe Metals or the Government about mining operations.

In 2011, Globe Metals stated that it will compensate all members of the Kanyika community adversely affected by its mining operations and relocate them by 2012. The Kanyika Community ceased using their lands, including growing crops, and stopped maintaining their housing marked for demolition. The community claims that Globe Metals continued their mining operations without compensating and relocating the community for over five years.

Legal proceedings

On 28 August 2017, Nthondo Banda and 242 other members of the Kanyika community filed a lawsuit against Globe Metals in the High Court of Malawi, seeking constitutional and common law damages and compensation over the lack of compensation and resettlement. On 3 November 2017, Globe Metals denied the allegations. The parties decided to consider mediation at the Mzuzu High Court. 

On 31 August 2018, the proceeding of mediation between the Kanyika community and the defendants (the Kanyika Community also filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General) was held. The parties agreed that the community members who lost their land and were negatively impacted by the mining operations should be compensated. The Kanyika community was asked to provide a document of the list of households and individuals who were not compensated. Another meeting was scheduled for 15 November 2018. The case is ongoing.

In December 2019, the ongoing mediation process was terminated because an agreement could not be reached regarding the amount of compensation to be paid towards the community. The matter will come to trial in 2020.

Update on the mediation between Kanyika community and Global Metals and Mining Company, Paul Mvula, Church & Society Program (Malawi), 5 Sep 2018

Kanyika and Globe Metals compensation case, mediation starts on good note, Wanangwa Mtawali, Nyasa Times (Malawi), 3 Sep 2018

Kanyika court case goes for mediation in Malawi, Debora Manda, Mining in Malawi, 4 Apr 2018

Community seeks compensation against Global Metals & Mining for alleged impoverishment, Southern Africa Litigation Centre, 13 Mar 2018

Malawi: 250 households sue Global Metals & Mining for lack of compensation for displacement to pave way for mining, George Singini, Nation, 14 Sep 2017

Malawi: Residents say Globe Metals & Mining yet to compensate them after displacement; includes company's comments, Luke Bisani, Malawi24, 4 Apr 2016

Court documents

Globe Metals & Mining' statement of defence, Globe Metals & Mining, 13 Mar 2018

Statement of claim against Globe Metals & Mining, John Tennyson & Associates, 13 Mar 2018