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Issues at Operating Uranium Mines and Mills - Africa

(last updated 2 Dec 2014)

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> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

General

Areva en Afrique, Une face cachée du nucléaire français external link, par Raphaël Granvaud, Dossiers Noirs 24, Agone, 15 février 2012, 300 pages (in French)
> Download 4-page leaflet external link (in French)

Uranium from Africa. Mitigation of Uranium Mining Impacts on Society and Environment by Industry and Governments external link, A joint report by WISE and SOMO, Amsterdam, June 2011, 104 p. (1.89M PDF) [covers the situation in Namibia, South Africa, and the Central African Republic]

Radioactive Revenues: Financial Flows between Uranium Mining Companies and African Governments external link, by Albert ten Kate & Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, SOMO/WISE, March 2011

 


Malawi   flag

Kayelekera


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Decommissioning Projects · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

Kayelekera mine

(also called Kayerekera)

> View deposit info

Traditional authority demands more development efforts from mining investors: Paramount Chief Kyungu [Kyungu = traditional authority in Karonga District] in Malawi's northern border district of Karonga has vowed to lead the people in lobbying for developmental projects from mining investors, claiming that since the coming of the mining companies in the district people have not benefited anything.
Speaking during mining sensitization music show carried by Government on Saturday (Nov. 29), Kyungu said mines investors in Malawi steal the country's natural resources as well as spoiling the environment yet they leave the people poor.
(Nyasa Times Dec. 1, 2014)

NGOs warn Paladin against planned release of Kayelekera uranium mill tailings water into river used for drinking water: Karonga residents in conjunction with the civil society organizations have given Paladin Africa Ltd seven days ultimatum to reverse its decision to empty its tailings dam liquid wastes at Kayelekera uranium mine into Sere River which flows to Lake Malawi. Failing to adhere, the groups and Karonga residents have threatened to take legal action against the Australian uranium mining company which may include court injunction.
The development comes against a recent District executive meeting organized by the mining company where its Operations Manager Greg Walker announced that government has authorized Paladin to remove the said water which geologists claim has high levels of radiation into the Sere river which is the main source of drinking water for most people in Karonga. "The deal has already been signed between the company and government but we shall purify the water first before releasing it into the Sere River," Walker is reported to have said during the meeting.
However, the development has angered the Karonga community which has engaged the country's Natural Resource Justice Network external link Rink (NRJN), a grouping of 33 Civil Society Organizations dealing with mining and human rights issues to help it fighting the battle against Paladin's decision. In a statement released on 19th November 2014 [...], the stakeholders are demanding Paladin to immediately halt its decision and conform to the initial plan to build another tailings dam. (Nyasa Times Nov. 19, 2014)
Paladin Energy says discharging water from a tailings dam at its Kayelekera Uranium Mine into the North Rukuru River, a source of water for people in the Karonga District in the north of Malawi, poses no human or environmental hazards. All released water will be treated to meet local and internationally recognized standards, including World Health Organization drinking water guidelines for uranium content, the Perth, Australia-based company said in a statement published in the Daily Times newspaper. (Business Week Nov. 24, 2014)

Residents oppose reopening of Kayelekera uranium mine under current development agreement for lack of benefit for local district: Uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd is facing resistance from residents of northern border district of Karonga on plans to reopen its Kayelekera mine, in Malawi, following the conditions that the company presented to the community this week. In his presentation Greg Walker Acting General Manager for Operations on Tuesday (Oct. 28) at the Karonga district chamber said Paladin will restart its operations on the production of uranium at Kayelekera on among other conditions that Malawian government should maintain the development agreement in place.
The sentiment angered the community which was in the chamber claiming that the current agreement does not benefit them despite the mine is in their district. (Nyasa Times Oct. 31, 2014)

Production ceases at Paladin's Kayelekera uranium mine: On May 27, 2014, Paladin announced that uranium production (including circuit inventory clean up) ceased at the Kayelekera Mine on 21 May. Production can be recommenced within a lead-time of about 9 months.

Kayelekera uranium mine not likely to reopen any time soon: Uranium miner Paladin Africa Limited (PAL) has said the Kayerekera Mine in Karonga is not likely to re-open any time soon. Responding to a Daily Times questionnaire PAL General Manager for International Affairs Greg Walker said global uranium price is still on the decline. "Given this further decline in the uranium spot price, the answer is 'no', we will not be opening any time soon. Paladin said in February that the company would not consider resuming production at Kayerekera Mine until the global uranium price reached at least US$75/lb and was sustainable at or above that level," he said. Walker said the current global uranium spot price is at US$29/lb.
He further said, currently the mine is in the sterilisation phase which is expected to be completed this month. "We are now in the final phase of this transition period and the processing plant will still produce some uranium oxide product during this time. PAL will continue to export until all such product has been removed from site," said Walker. (BNL Times May 15, 2014)

Uranium ore concentrate spilled in transport accident near Paladin's Kayelekera mine: Paladin Energy has reported a spill near one of its African mines, saying a truck carrying a container of uranium oxide from its Kayelekera mine in Malawi overturned while negotiating a curve in the road. The container fell loose and was punctured by a tree stump, the Perth-based miner said in a statement. An amount of uranium oxide concentrate - described by Paladin as a small quantity - spilled out. Paladin said both the spilled material and the soil that it came in touch with had been removed and taken back to the tailings dam at the mine. (Sydney Morning Herald Feb. 17, 2014)

Paladin's Kayelekera uranium mine suspends production until uranium price recovers: On Feb. 7, 2014, Paladin Energy announced it is suspending production at its Kayelekera Mine in Malawi. The suspension will involve placing the operation on care and maintenance until the price of uranium recovers.

Church group calls for assessment of alleged impact of Kayelekera uranium mine on water quality: The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Karonga Diocese has asked government to institute an impact assessment of uranium mining activities at Kayelekera in Karonga on the quality of water in the district.
Diocesan Justice and Peace Desk Officer for Karonga Mwawi Shaba said "that lack of knowledge on the current state of water since the uranium mining activities started in the district in 2006 has raised health fears among people of Karonga". "Some months ago fish started dying mysteriously in Lake Malawi here in Karonga and people started connecting this to uranium mining. People are blank on whether uranium mining activities have affected quality of water and that has raised feelings of health insecurity," said Shaba. (BNL Times Nov. 1, 2013)

Malawi government unable to verify allegations of radiation-induced diseases among Kayelekera uranium mine workers: Members of Malawi's Parliamentary Committee on Health on Tuesday (Sep. 24) took senior government officials to task over reports of radiation-related-health concerns at Kayelekera Uranium Mine. The committee summoned officials from the Ministry of Mining and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management for an explanation on the reports. The officials, led by Principal Secretary of Environment Yanra Mupunyama, Director of Environmental Affairs Aloysius Kamperewera and Director of Mining Charles Kaphwiyo, insisted that there has been no proof to quantify the claims. The absence of the evidence derives from the fact that the Malawi government does not have equipment or the experts to investigate the kind of allegations reported in the local media.
The officials further told the MPs that instead, government was relying on the assessments of the mine's owner Paladin Africa. "Due to uncertainties on radiation exposure and time of exposure was absorbed and the background of the persons' medical records, it is hard to establish whether the man for example who lost sight, did so due to radiation. We don't have the specialized equipment," said Kamperewera. (BNL Times Sep. 26, 2013)
> See also: Malawi fails to establish nuclear regulator

Fatal accident at Paladin's Kayelekera mine On July 30, 2013, an employee died in an accident in the mine's engineering workshop. (Paladin Energy Ltd July 31, 2013)

UN Special Rapporteur savages Malawi's deal with uranium miner Paladin Energy: United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter who was in Malawi for an assessment of the food situation in the country has rubbished Kayerekera uranium mine deal between Malawi and Australian Paladin Mining Company saying the Southern African country has had a raw deal that is robbing the poor.
The UN Rapporteur said the uranium mining deal was one of the investments in Malawi through which the country is losing resources that could otherwise make a difference in food security and other pro-poor initiatives. He said in the life span of the mine Malawi is expected to lose almost US$281 million.
"Mining companies are exempt from customs duty, excise duty, value added taxes on mining machinery, plant and equipment. They can also sign special deals on the rate of royalty owed to the government. I believe that there are more reasons that investors would come to Malawi without such incentives," he said.
He bemoaned that due to illicit financial flows, tax envasion as well as tax incentives that the country offer to both domestic and foreign companies currently Malawi was failing to get maximum use of its resources. De Schutter said that revenue losses from special tax incentives to Paladin Africa Mining alone are estimated at almost K67 billion (US$205 milion) since the mine started its operations and could reach almost K92 billion (US$281 million) over its13-year lifespan. "Paladin alone is costing the budget more than US$20 million (almost K8 billion) a year in taxes," he said.
> View: UN Human Rights release July 22, 2013 external link
> View: End of mission statement by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Malawi 12 to 22 July 2013 external link, July 22, 2013

Malawi lost over US$ 12 million due to tax waivers for Kayelekera uranium mine, NGO report: The Malawi government is estimated to have lost at least K4.2 billion [US$ 12 million] in would-have-been revenue from the Kayerekera Uranium Mine as a result of tax waivers offered under the development agreement with the Australian company operating the mine.
This is contained in the report by the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development external link (Afrodad) following its analysis on costs, revenues and benefits of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Extractive Industry in Malawi, focusing on Kayelekera. In the report, Afrodad has raised several issues that it says have contributed to the country's low benefits from the mine and has since called on government to work at building capacity for monitoring as well as renegotiating the deal with Paladin Africa Limited (PAL). (Daily Times May 31, 2013)

Paladin reports further US$ 44.8 million writedown at Kayelekera mine: Uranium miner Paladin Energy has slashed a further US$ 44.8 million from the value of its Kayelekera mine in Malawi, taking writedowns for project over the past nine months to US$ 140.8 million. In its financial report for nine months to March 31, released after the market closed yesterday, Paladin blamed "continued uranium price weakness" for the writedown. (The West Australian May 15, 2013)

Malawi to renegotiate with Paladin on the Kayelekera uranium deal: Malawi has finally succumbed to pressure from activists to start re-negotiating with Paladin Africa Limited on the Kayerekera Uranium deal in a last ditch attempt to create a win-win situation. First on the proposal is to remove the confidentiality clause on the agreement such that it be made public before rectifying other strings within the deal. Minister of Mines Mr John Bande confirmed that discussions are underway with Paladin Africa Limited on the matter. (Malawi Today Apr. 14, 2013)

Paladin has US$10 million environmental bond for Kayelekera uranium mine: Australian Miner Paladin Energy Limited, operators of the Kayerekera Uranium Mine in Karonga district have a US$10 million Environmental Performance Bond with two commercial banks in Malawi to among other things cater for rehabilitation costs for signs of default during and after mine life. "Paladin has a MWK 3.9 Billion (US$10 Million) Performance Bond in place to satisfy the environmental obligations of Clause 18.14(a). This comprises a US$ 5 Million Performance Bond with Standard Bank Limited and US$ 5 Million Performance Bond with Nedbank Malawi Limited," Paladin General Manager for International Affairs Greg Walker told Nyasa Times in an email response. The bond, in the form of irrevocable letters of credit, will deal with issues like water and environment contamination and the eventual clean up.
Walker was reacting to media reports which erroneously insinuated that Paladin Africa Limited, and the Reserve Bank of Malawi are yet to establish the Bond, six years after signing the mining deal. (Nyasa Times Apr. 3, 2013)

Opposition party pushes Malawi government to re-negotiate 'stinking' deal with Paladin on Kayerekera mine: Opposition People's Transformation Party (PETRA) is making a strong appeal to government authorities to re-negotiate with immediate effect what it calls "stinking development agreement" between Malawi and the Australian-based mining company Paladin Africa Limited on Kayerekera uranium mine it is operating in the northern district of Karonga. PETRA's President Kamuzu Chibambo told reporters that the nature of the agreement reached between the two parties left a lot to be desired as it has a lot of loopholes which are not only largely unclear but also disadvantageous to Malawians as they are crafted for the benefit of the mining company alone. (Nyasa Times Mar. 5, 2013)

Paladin reports impairment of US$ 96 million at Kayelekera mine: Paladin reported an impairment of US$ 96 million at its Kayelekera mine, due to continued weakness in the uranium price, while also writing down US$ 98.2 million for de-recognition of the mine as a deferred tax asset. (WA Business News Feb. 15, 2013)

Paladin to retrench 110 workers at Kayelekera mine in "response to economic pressures": Australian uranium miner Paladin Energy would restructure the mining operations at Kayelekera in Karonga that would result in the retrenchment of 110 employees [representing an 18% staff reduction]. The miner confirmed to Nyasa Times when asked about the job cuts.
Paladin international affairs General Manager Greg Walker told Nyasa Times: "We have reviewed staff numbers and are retrenching 110 national employees." The development comes after the uranium miner reported that Kayelekera Mine output jumped 20.9 percent in the quarter ending December 2012. But Walker explained: "While production has gone up, the uranium price has not; hence Kayelekera continues to operate at a loss." In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, Paladin said the staff reduction is in "response to economic pressures on the Company caused by the continuing depressed uranium price". Walker said apart from the local staff expatriate positions are also being reduced by 24 per cent from 118 to 90. (Nyasa Times Jan. 25, 2013)

Paladin threatens anti-nuclear website owner with court action: The law firm Ashurst has been instructed to threaten a 75-year old pensioner who has spoken out against the alleged exploitation of African workers by an Australian uranium miner.
Noel Christina Macpherson Wauchope, who runs the website www.antinuclear.net external link under the name Christina Macpherson, told BusinessDay she was not in a position to hire lawyers. Wauchope said that she cut and pasted some articles from the Malawi press and posted them on her website. She collates press clippings from around the world, anything to do with uranium.
The price of Noel Wauchope's concern for the people [of] Karonga was a long and intimidating letter of demand from Ashurst on behalf of the uranium company Paladin Energy and its general manager of international affairs, Greg Walker. If she did not comply with these demands, warned Ashurst, she would face court action.
Paladin chief executive John Borshoff said he was unaware of the letter. "I'm not aware about a 75-year old lady," said Borshoff, "All I know is that these NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) and they are absolutely maligning us, and we sent them legal letters". (The Sydney Morning Herald Dec. 19, 2012)

Workers at Kayelekera uranium mine on strike over labour conditions: The local workers told Nyasa Times that they are demanding pay increase from the uranium producer Paladin. Workers downed their tools on Friday afternoon (May 11) halting production at the site. (Nyasa Times May 11, 2012)
On May 16, 2012, Paladin announced than an agreement in principle was achieved for a return to work by the striking Malawi employees.

Kayelekera uranium mill temporarily shut down due to delays in deliveries of sulphuric acid: On Oct. 4, 2011, Paladin Energy Ltd advised that the Kayelekera Mine processing plant has been shut down temporarily to allow replenishment of necessary operational sulphuric acid inventories. The acid plant has been undergoing remedial repair work made necessary due to localised ground movement. It is not possible to run the processing plant and at the same time restore acid stocks to sufficient levels with delays in recent acid deliveries to site.

Student found dead after critical publication alleged payments of Kayelekera uranium mine to Malawi president: A student of Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, who was very critical of President Bingu wa Mutharika and was being hunted down by police, has been found dead at his university campus. Robert Chasowa was in his fourth year of a course in Engineering at the Malawi Polytechnic. He was found lying down and his head oozing with blood. The students suspect regime thugs threw him from a tall building.
The deceased was a "wanted" man by security forces and has been in hiding after police came at the campus to quiz him over anti-Mutharika Youth for Freedom and Democracy (YFD) group whose scathing publication The Weekly Political Update has already seen police arrest some of the YFD members. Nyasa Times also understands that Police on Monday (Sep. 19) raided the home of 21-year old Black Moses, president of YFD whisking him away to an unknown location. He is apparently being questioned over the publication which is a one-paged numbered prose that uses critical language against Bingu wa Mutharika's authoritarian rule.
The Monday paper also alleged that Kayerekera Uranium mine is depositing about K14 million [US$ 83,690] to Mutharika's account and that central bank's governor Perks Ligoya own a fat account in Dubai. (Nyasa Times Sep. 24, 2011)
The death of a University of Malawi student activist who published a weekly newsletter critical of government policies has been ruled a suicide, police said on Sunday (Sep. 25). But many say they believe 25-year-old Robert Chasowa, a fourth-year engineering student at the Malawi Polytechnic was assassinated and the suicide aspect has been doctored. (Nyasa Times Sep. 25, 2011)
Chasowa's death 'not suicide', insists pathologist Dzamalala: Malawi's pathologist Dr Charles Dzamalala, who carried out a post-mortem on the body of a fourth year University of Malawi engineering student Robert Chasowa whose mysterious death police say, was a case of suicide, told Capital Radio's Straight Talk programme on Tuesday (Oct. 4) that his death was not suicide and that his yet-to-be released report will state so. (Nyasa Times Oct. 4, 2011)
Paladin paying Malawi's president? Australia's help sought to see records: Claims by a student activist who was found dead on his college campus have set in motion plans to petition the Australian government to have Paladin Energy Limited, an Australian mining company, to make public its records of financial transactions. "At the centre of the petition is an Australian Company operating in Malawi. It has been alleged that it has questionable dealings with some officials of the Government of Malawi," reads a letter sent to Australia Parliament's Petitions Committee Secretariat. "At least one person who made such allegations has died. The police quickly and conveniently for them, called his death suicide, [but] the local pathologist has opined otherwise," the group whose members would like their identity concealed at this time said. (Maravi Post Oct. 26, 2011)

Yellowcake drying and packaging plant at Kayelekera mine to be relocated due to "land slippage": On Aug. 26, 2011, Paladin Energy Ltd advised that the drying and packaging plant has been closely inspected for damage caused by localised movement related to previously advised land slippage. As a result Paladin determined that in the interests of safety it would be prudent to bring forward its existing plans to relocate the drying and packaging plant and this programme is now underway.
In the interim, Kayelekera will be producing yellowcake with higher moisture content than standard specification. Plans are in place to divert Kayelekera concentrates via its sister mine at Langer Heinrich in Namibia for final drying and packing en route to export from Walvis Bay in the normal manner.

Community group requests access to information on mining activities: A community task team from Malawi's northern region district of Karonga has petitioned government for access to information that will enable them to effectively monitor mining activities in the area for compliance with fundamental human rights and labour standards. They petitioned the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment, the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Mines and the Ministry of Labour. The Karonga Natural Resources Justice Committee (KANRJC), which submitted the petition, was formed specifically to oversee natural resources and development issues that affect the general public in Karonga.
Their groundbreaking initiative seeks to use provisions in Malawi's environmental protection laws that guarantee citizens' access to information in order to protect their communities' health, environmental, property and labour rights. In particular, KANRJC seeks information on the operations at Kayelekera Uranium Mine and Mwabulambo Coal Mine. It is concerned for compliance with environmental and safety standards at the mines, land allocation for mining without proper compensation being provided to the dispossessed land owners and delivery on undertakings by the mining companies in terms of development agreements with the government of Malawi. (Nyasa Times August 25, 2011)

Coal-fired power plant demanded for Kayelekera uranium mine: Dedza North West MP Alekeni Menyani (MCP) on Monday (Jun. 20) advised Malawi Government to find an alternative source of energy for the Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga. The MP said the use of diesel fuel in the mining of uranium is exerting pressure on the country's already low supplies of fuel.
"Government should seriously consider constructing a thermal electric plant run on coal dedicated for the uranium mining project right at the mining place. I believe that such a project will, without, fail ease the pressure currently being felt on fuel," he said. (Nation Jun. 22, 2011)

Truck driver dies in accident at Kayelekera uranium mine: A Tanzanian national, a driver, died at a fatal accident which occurred at Malawi's uranium mine, Kayelekera in Karonga, police and Paladin have confirmed. According to eye witnesses working on Saturday (Jun. 18), the truck caught fire with the impact but was extinguished with water from the 1 million litre water tank which it hit. (Nyasa Times Jun 19, 2011)

Kayelekera mine resumes production after one week disruption due to diesel fuel shortage: After experiencing a "severe shortage in availability of diesel due to foreign exchange constraints", Paladin announced on Feb. 21, 2011, that production resumes the same day.

Paladin Energy refuses disclosure of carbon footprint: view here

Paladin orders miners to work in Kayelekera mine in spite of shortage of dust masks: Malawian workers at Paladin's Kayerekera uranium mine in Karonga are living in a hazardous environment as they are working with no masks to protect their faces from potentially harmful dust. Nyasa Times under cover journalist who visited the Kayerekera mine on Friday September 23, 2010 found that most miners did not wear masks, and their hands and face were caked with uranium ore. The workers protested to management about the development.
But the geology superintendent of the mine, Johan De Bruin confirmed the lack of dust mask. In his email sent on September 23 to 9 workers, he ordered the staff that they cannot stop mining due to shortage of dust mask. He wrote that Barbour informed him that currently there is a huge shortage of the suppliers and that it will take a while to increase the stock levels again. "Mining is a 24 hour operation and cannot be stopped as a result of a shortage of available dust masks," said De Bruin in his email. He advised that as an interim arrangement, one dust mask will and must be used for more than one shift. (Nyasa Times Sep. 25, 2010)

Paladin targets first uranium deliveries to China in 2011: view here

Kayelekera mine reaches 50% of design capacity; full production expected by April: Paladin's Australian-based Chief Financial Officer Garry Korte said Kayelekera has so far achieved 50 percent of its planned production capacity. "Our design capacity is to produce 3.3 million pounds of uranium [1,269 t U] a year. So far, we are able to produce about 50 percent of our daily capacity. We hope to reach our full capacity by April this year," said Korte. (Daily Times March 1, 2010)

NGO warns about impending uranium tailings dam failures and mudslides caused by earthquakes and/or heavy rain: A South African-based non-governmental organisation, Bench Marks Foundation external link, has warned of impending ecological and human disasters in Karonga resulting from uranium mining and exposure to mudslides during rainy seasons. However, government has trashed the NGO's predictions, describing it as “misguided and unfounded” and only aimed at instilling fear among Malawians living in Karonga and the surrounding areas.
In its February 1, 2010 media statement titled “Malawi town, a disaster waiting to happen”, the Foundation warns that any earthquake severe enough to damage Paladin's operations will see a toxic poisonous mix flood down from the mountains above Karonga into Lake Malawi below. “The ecological and human disaster, which will follow will be unspeakable,” the Foundation's Executive Director John Capel says in the statement.
Karonga experienced a series of medium earthquakes that started in December 2009, but Paladin's operations survived this round of tremors. However, the Foundation warns that should the tremors increase in intensity, Paladin might be affected as well. The report by Bench Mark Foundation comes less than a month after the US geological experts dismissed sentiments that the Karonga earthquakes were connected to the uranium mining at Kayelekera in the district. (Sunday Times, Malawi, Feb. 7, 2010)

Malawi invites power firms to develop hydro power scheme for Kayelekera uranium mine: The Malawi government is inviting expressions of interest (EoIs) for the development of the Kayelekera North Rukuru river hydroelectric power project on an independent power producer (IPP) basis. The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) says that the successful bidder will be required to undertake feasibility studies for the project, expected to supply power to the nearby Kayelekera uranium mine. (Engineering News Nov. 27, 2009)

Paladin plans extension of Kayelekera uranium mine: On Oct. 29, 2009, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that is to conduct an optimisation study at Kayelekera whereby it intends exploiting some additional resource by extending the west wall of the current planned pit. This study will be targeting an increased production rate of 3.8 Mlb U3O8 [1,462 t U] pa (from current 3.3 Mlb U3O8 [1,269 t U] pa) with minimal capital requirement (estimated at US$10-$15M) by utilising existing excess capacity. It is expected this production rate will be achieved by mid calendar 2012.

Malawi government ignorant of uranium tonnage exported by Paladin's Kayelekera mine: Government is yet to know about the quantity of Uranium exported by Paladin Africa last month. Paladin is mining uranium at Kayelekera in Karonga. The company exported its first uranium last month, but Energy and Natural Resources Minister Grain Malunga says his ministry is yet to be briefed about the quantity exported. "We will come back to you once we have the figures," he said.
Uranium has become one of the most sensitive minerals in this era of nuclear energy and power, and government may be taken to task by the International Atomic Energy Agency for not following up of exported quantity. IAEA calls for strict monitoring and handling of uranium to prevent it from falling into unsafe hands, possibly terrorists. (Nyasa Times Oct. 23, 2009)

Kayelekera mine starts exporting uranium: Malawi has started exporting uranium, which is going through Zambia before departure for overseas using the Walvis Bay of Namibia. Paladin Africa has confirmed the development.
Paladin deputy country manager, Werner Messidat told Bizcommunity that one container was shipped in August and two more have followed recently. "The product, which was sent there, will be sent together with other products from our sister company from Namibia, which will be shipped, together to Canada," said Messidat. He said since they are looking to be at full production by end of December from next year, this will be a monthly exercise, as they will be shipping two shipments per month. "We will be sending three containers at a time but the target will be to send six containers each month," he said. (Bizcommunity 21 Oct 2009)

Fourth death this year at Paladin's Kayelekera mine: Uranium producer Paladin Energy Ltd has reported a fatality at its Kayelekera mine in northern Malawi, the fourth this year at the site. The company said in a statement on Thursday that an employee had died at the mine as a result of a mini-bus rollover on Wednesday (Oct. 7). Paladin said 19 people including the driver were injured, with 15 admitted to hospital. Paladin advised on August 25 that a construction contractor had died at the mine, also as a result of a motor vehicle incident. The company reported on April 5 that two sub-contractors had died in a flash fire at the mine construction site. (The Sydney Morning Herald Oct. 8, 2009)

Malawi's draft uranium regulations "essentially a self-regulation system": view here

Kayelekera uranium exports to start September 2009: Uranium exports from the Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga are expected to start next month following months of trial processing and production at the mine since the official opening of the mine by President Bingu wa Mutharika on April 17 this year. In a company report filed with the Australian Stock Exchange last week, Paladin Energy Limited managing director John Borshoff told investors that Kayelekera Mine was in its final development stages and that trial production started at the mine in June. "By June, projected production was reached at the mine and desired performance was reached and was on schedule," said Borshoff, adding, "Commercial production at the mine will start early September and first production is planned for shipping out towards the end of the same month." Borshoff said the company had so far invested US$167 million at the mine in Karonga and that when fully developed; the mine will produce 3.3 million lb of uranium [1269 t U] for the export market. According to Borshoff, 34,600 lb of tradable yellow-cake uranium [13.3 t U] by-product had been produced from the mine by June. (The Daily Times 5 August 2009)

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Namibia   flag

General · Rössing (extra page) · Langer Heinrich


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Decommissioning Projects · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

General

Areva's Trekkopje desalination plant to supply water to three other uranium mines via Namwater

Areva SA's Namibian unit will sign a 10-year deal this month with a state-run utility to maintain water supplies essential to uranium mines in the country owned by companies including Rio Tinto Group and Paladin Energy Ltd. The agreement with Namibia Water Corp. will be completed at the end of June, Hilifa Mbako, managing director of the Paris-based nuclear company's local unit, said in an interview.
Areva runs a 20 million cubic meter desalination plant in the semi-arid Erongo region west of the capital Windhoek that supplies Rio's Rössing Uranium Ltd., Paladin's Langer Heinrich mine and China General Nuclear Power Holding Corp.'s Husab site under a temporary deal expiring in October. The new agreement will mean Areva supplies Namibia Water, or Namwater, which will then distribute it to customers. (Bloomberg June 5, 2014)

Areva said to offer to sell Trekkopje water desalination plant to Namibia; Areva denies

Areva SA, the world's largest nuclear-reactor builder, offered to sell its 3 billion Namibian dollar (US$ 276 million) desalination plant in the African nation to the government, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Areva would retain a 10 percent to 20 percent stake in the plant to guarantee water supply to the French company's planned Trekkopje uranium mine, said the person who asked not to be named because the offer hasn't been made public. Namibia's government hasn't yet responded to the offer made through state-owned utility Namibia Water Corp., the person said. Julien Duperray, a spokesman for Areva, based in the Paris suburb of La Defense, didn't immediately respond to calls seeking comment. Namibia Water couldn't immediately be reached for comment. (Bloomberg Jan. 17, 2014)
AREVA, the French nuclear firm, says it is not selling its desalination plant in the Erongo Region, despite some international and local media reports to the contrary. "Areva is not selling or pulling out of the desalination plant," Areva country manager Hilifa Mbako said in an interview yesterday. Mbako explained that what Areva had decided to do was to look for a new local partner for the plant. "We have identified NamWater as a possible partner and we are in negotiations with them, but matters being discussed are confidential at the moment," Mbako said.
Mbako said the plant is supplying water to NamWater and Swakop Uranium, which is developing the Husab uranium mine and the Rössing Uranium mine. (Namibian Feb. 13, 2014)

Uranium mines in Namibia face water shortage

Uranium mines operated by companies including Rio Tinto Plc and Paladin Energy Ltd. in Namibia face a water shortage as a drought in the southwest African nation curbs supply to the operations and three coastal towns.
Volumes from the Omaruru Delta acquifer, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the capital, Windhoek, have declined to 4 million cubic meters this year from 9 million cubic meters a year earlier, said Nehemia Abraham, under-secretary for water and forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture. The source is in the semi-arid Erongo region, which supplies the towns of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay and suffers from severe shortages. Water from a desalination plant owned by Areva SA (AREVA), the country's first such facility, isn't enough to meet needs of Paladin's Langer Heinrich uranium mine, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co.'s Husab uranium project and Rio's Rössing complex.
"The water-supply situation at the coastal area has become too critical," Abraham said by phone yesterday. "Mining companies in the area will have to operate with less water. We are reviewing the situation now and from end of November we might be unable to get enough water from the aquifer to supply to mines." (Bloomberg Nov. 18, 2013)

Areva's Trekkopje desalination plant to supply water to three other uranium mines

The desalination plant built by Areva near Wlotzkasbaken for its proposed Trekkopje uranium mine is to supply water to the Rössing, Langer Heinrich and Husab uranium mines (the latter still under construction), and to the coastal towns. With the Trekkopje mine project currently on hold, Areva is expected to sign an agreement with Namwater next week. The desalinated water is to replace groundwater currently pumped in excessive amounts from the Omdel aquifer. The current consumption of the three mines is 4.5 million cubic metres per year. (Allgemeine Zeitung July 26, 2013)
On Aug. 14, 2013, Areva announced that a first contract with Namibia Water Corporation Ltd (NamWater) has been signed.

Water supply for Namibia's uranium mines reduced by 25% in view of water shortage in central coastal area

On March 25, 2011, NamWater announced that the water supply to the uranium mines will be reduced by 25%. This affects the mines to varying degrees: Rössing hopes to maintain normal production by replacing freshwater in the mill wherever possible and by avoiding any non-essential consumption. Paladin's Langer Heinrich mine is not affected, as it has collected more than 500,000 cubic metres of rain water in two open pits during the past two weeks; and, Areva's Trekkopje mine is not affected, as it is fed with water supplied by its own desalination plant. (Allgemeine Zeitung Mar. 28, 2011)

Water crisis in Swakopmund; uranium mines also affected

Two leaks in the Omdel water pipeline led to a serious water shortage in the city of Swakopmund beginning from Jan. 22, 2010. Apparently, the Rössing and Langer Heinrich uranium mines had been notified of the imminent shortage by NamWater, while residents were not informed. (Allgemeine Zeitung Jan. 25, 2010)
Uranium production came to a standstill at the Rössing and Langer Heinrich uranium mines on Feb. 1 and 2 due to water shortage. Water supply gradually returned on Feb. 3. Areva's Trekkopje mine (under construction) will have to wait until Feb. 5. (Republikein Feb. 4, 2010)

Police seizes 170 kg of stolen uranium

The Erongo Police on Friday (Sep. 4) arrested three suspects for being in possession of, and allegedly wanting to deal in, 170 kg (375 pounds) of uranium oxide (U3O8). (Namibian Sep 8, 2009)

> See also U.S. concerned about trafficking of uranium mined at Rössing

Erongo Region faces serious water shortage; Rössing and Langer Heinrich uranium mines temporarily without water

A severe water shortage is staring the Erongo Region in the face. This fact was demonstrated when two of Namibia's largest mines, Rössing Uranium and Langer Heinrich, were without water for two days a few weeks ago and Swakopmund's reservoir at one stage held only 500 cubic metres of water (the town needs about 11,000 cubic metres a day). Swakopmund Council CEO, Eckart Demasius, stated that the region was experiencing a water shortage. Demasius said the problem was exacerbated by the current condition of the Omdel water-supply system, which is an integral water source for Swakopmund, Arandis, Rössing Uranium and Langer Heinrich, along with the Kuiseb River's Swartbank system, which mostly feeds Walvis Bay. He said pipe-bursts in the Omdel-system caused the Rössing and Langer Heinrich mines to be without water for two days.
Langer Heinrich Managing Director, Wyatt Buck, confirmed that mining was stopped for two days recently, causing revenue losses of nearly N$8 million (US$1 million). "Rössing's operations were not impacted as this was at a time when the mine had a planned two-week maintenance shutdown, with no production," Jerome Mutumba, External Affairs Manager at Rössing Uranium, said. (Namibian July 23, 2009)

 

Rössing

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Langer Heinrich

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Contract workers claim unfair treatment at Langer Heinrich uranium mine

About 50 employees staged a protest demonstration at Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) Mine's head office in Swakopmund on Thursday (Oct. 2) before handing over a petition listing their complaints. Workers employed by companies sub-contracted to LHU claim they are mistreated at work. The workers from Sure Cast, Gecko Drilling, LBS, Quick Investment, RVH and NEC Stahl claim they are, amongst others, made to work without benefits, such as medical aid, transport allowances and pension. (Namib Times Oct. 7, 2014)

Stage 4 expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine postponed

Paladin Energy Ltd. said it's frozen plans to invest in a new processing plant at its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia after the price of the nuclear fuel fell below the level needed to justify the spending. "With current pricing it's not economic to start new investments, we need at least a price of $70 a pound of uranium," Langer Heinrich Managing Director Simon Solomons said in an interview yesterday at the mine.
The new plant would have been part of an expansion aimed at raising output to 8.5 million pounds of uranium oxide [3,269 t U] a year. The facility now has capacity of about 5.2 million pounds [2,000 t U] a year, sold to three converters in France, Canada and the U.S. Plans for the new processing plant may be reconsidered in about two years, Solomons said. Banks are unwilling to bet on a recovery in uranium prices after they fell to about $34 per pound following the Fukushima nuclear plant shutdown in Japan three years ago, he said. (Businessweek Apr. 4, 2014)

China Uranium Corporation acquires 25% stake in Paladin's Langer Heinrich uranium mine (Namibia)

On Jan. 20, 2014, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that it signed an agreement on 18 January 2014 to sell a 25% joint-venture equity stake in its Langer Heinrich uranium mining operation in Namibia to China Uranium Corporation Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) for consideration of US$ 190 million.

Three workers injured in electrical incident at Langer Heinrich uranium mine

On Oct. 3, 2013, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that on Oct. 2 there was a serious electrical incident at Langer Heinrich Mine involving one employee and two contractors being hospitalised. Two of the workers received significant burns while the third worker received smoke inhalation and has been discharged. The more seriously injured worker has been flown to South Africa for treatment.
On Oct. 30, 2013, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that the more seriously injured worker has died in a South African hospital.

Workers protest at Langer Heinrich uranium mine

About 300 workers, who include mine staff and contractor employees, picketed at Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) mine last Thursday (June 27), protesting the way they are being treated and paid by their employer. Although the peaceful demonstration was organised at the beginning of last week and announced to the mine's management, the protesting workers and media were barred from the minesite where the demonstration was supposed to take place. (Namibian July 2, 2013)

Paladin Energy secures financing for stage 3 expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Uranium producer Paladin Energy said it received full financing of $141-million for the expansion of its Namibia project. Paladin said it signed a financing agreement with a syndicate of banks and added that it plans to fund initial development at the Langer Heinrich Stage 3 through existing cash reserves. The company said the project is on track to reach potential capacity in the first quarter of 2012. (Reuters Aug. 26, 2011)

Langer Heinrich mine expansion hit by strike

Progress on Expansion Phase Three of Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine came to a standstill on Monday (Aug. 15) after employees of the main contractor, Grinaker LTA, downed tools due to grievances related to impending layoffs. According to a workers committee representative, more than 600 workers of the construction and engineering company stopped work on the mine site at noon on Monday - and continued to strike on Tuesday. (Namibian Aug. 17, 2011)

Feasibility study commenced for Stage 4 expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine

AMEC Minproc external link has commenced work for Paladin Energy on their definitive feasibility study for the major Stage 4 expansion of the Langer Heinrich uranium operation. The study is targeting an overall expanded annual production of 10 million pounds [3,850 t U]. The study is expected to be complete by the end of 2011. (AMEC Minproc June 30, 2011)

Uranium miner Paladin Energy refuses disclosure of carbon footprint

An investor group is considering legal action against Paladin Energy over the uranium miner's refusal to debate climate change risks. Paladin has rejected listing a Climate Advocacy Fund's external link proposed resolution external link that the miner disclose its carbon footprint at its annual meeting late this month. The fund owns a small stake in Paladin and had the support of the required 100 shareholders under the Corporations Act to put forward a resolution. "We say Paladin has acted against the provisions of the Act and we could take legal action over it," fund executive director James Thier told BusinessDaily. "Certainly, we will have talks with ASIC external link."
Mr Thier said carbon footprint database Trucost external link estimated Paladin was the third-most carbon intensive ASX 200 company, with emissions estimated at more than 2500 tonnes of carbon dioxide per $1 million of revenue. "This is six times more than the ASX 200 average and if it is correct, it means our company (Paladin) may be highly exposed to carbon costs that are anticipated to be introduced . . . to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," the fund told the miner.
Mr Thier said Paladin chairman Rick Crabb, who did not return BusinessDaily's calls yesterday, told the fund although the company acknowledged its concerns, they "were not part of shareholder business". (Herald Sun Nov. 3, 2010)

Paladin reports doubling of ore reserve of Langer Heinrich deposit

On Oct. 1, 2010, Paladin Energy Ltd. announced that the ore reserve for the Langer Heinrich deposit increased 104% to 134.1 Mlb U3O8 (51,577 t U).

Paladin targets first uranium deliveries to China in 2011

Paladin Energy Ltd. said it is targeting uranium shipments to China in 2011 after signing a preliminary accord with the nation's second-biggest builder of nuclear power plants. Paladin, the Australian mining company producing uranium in Africa, aims to convert a memorandum of understanding with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Co. into supply contracts later in 2010 or early next year, Chief Executive Officer John Borshoff said in a telephone interview today. Paladin may then be able to begin shipments in the "latter part" of next year, he said. (Bloomberg Aug. 31, 2010)

Water supply expansion proposal for Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Groundwater abstraction cannot supply enough water for Langer Heinrich mine expansion, draft Scoping/EIA Report concludes; comments invited:
"The key conclusion of the EIA is that:
The proposed abstraction of 250,000m3/annum from the Husab Berg compartment is not sustainable. The impact of this activity will be high since the sustainable abstraction rate is only 150,000m3/annum and the SEA gives a clear recommendation/guideline that future mining activities must source desalinated water only."
> Download: The Water Supply Improvement Project to the Langer Heinrich Mine. Draft Scoping/Environmental Impact Assessment Report. Draft 03 23/11/2010 for comment by stakeholders external link, Enviro Dynamics, 2010. (2.2M PDF - Environmental Information Service Namibia)

Residents oppose pumping of more water from Swakop River valley for supply of Langer Heinrich uranium mine expansion: At the first public meeting held at Swakopmund on Aug. 4 on the proposed expansion of the Langer Heinrich uranium mine, the participants vehemently opposed the abstraction of an additional 250,000 cubic metres of water from the Swakop River valley. The landscape had already been affected by excessive water abstraction over the past years, and any additional abstraction would make the damages more obvious, they said. (Allgemeine Zeitung Aug. 6, 2010)

Langer Heinrich uranium mine seeks expansion of water supply: The expansion project for the Langer Heinrich uranium mine requires the supply of additional amounts of water; the proposal is to pump more water from the Swakop River valley. An environmental assessment for the proposal is being prepared by Enviro Dynamics CC external link.
Public comments on the project are invited by August 18, 2010. (Allgemeine Zeitung July 23, 2010)
The outcome of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the water supply improvement project to the mine is to be presented in Swakopmund on Dec. 1, 2010. (Nambian Nov. 23, 2010)

Paladin plans further massive expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine, including heap leaching

On Oct. 29, 2009, Paladin Energy Ltd announced plans to increase production capacity of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine to around 10 million lb U3O8 [3,846 t U] per year (Stage 4 Expansion).
"It is believed that with current resources this balance can best be achieved by an annual plant production level of around the 9 Mlb U3O8, and a remaining mine life of 15 years. Investigations to date also suggest that this can be supplemented by a 1 Mlb pa U3O8 heap leaching facility. The run of mine operation is planned to crush approximately 8 Mtpa at an average grade of 600 ppm. This crushed ore will then be upgraded through an expanded scrubbing circuit to give a leach feed grade of around 920 ppm. The heap leach feed material is expected to comprise 42 Mt of low grade (175 ppm) material. Off-site infrastructure requirements include the installation of a second water supply pipeline and an upgrade to the existing electrical power supply line."

Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the proposed expansion project at Langer Heinrich mine

"LHU [Langer Heinrich Uranium (Pty) Ltd] proposes to expand its current operations at the mine in order to increase the uranium oxide production from 3.7 million pounds per annum [1,423 t U/a] to between 5 and 10 million pounds per annum [1,923 - 3,846 t U/a].
The main components of the expansion project include:
> Download: Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the proposed expansion project at Langer Heinrich mine external link, August 2009 (Paladin Energy Ltd)

Paladin approves further expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine

On June 30, 2009, Paladin Energy Ltd announced board approval of the Stage III Expansion of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine. The expansion project will increase production capacity to 5.2 million lb U3O8 [2000 t U] per year, rather than 6 million lb U3O8, as previously announced. The reduced target was chosen, as it is not vulnerable to delays in achieving additional water supply.
According to Paladin's news release of Nov. 12, 2010, "Stage 3 construction to expand capacity to 5.2Mlb pa is tracking early 2011 mechanical completion and startup of commissioning."

Paladin reports large resource upgrade for Langer Heinrich deposit

On Aug. 28, 2008, Paladin Energy Ltd announced a 46% increase in the Measured and Indicated Resources and a 64% increase in the Inferred Resources of the Langer Heinrich uranium deposit.

Langer Heinrich uranium mine expansion project

Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) proposes to commence, in 2008, with the first stage of a two-stage expansion, which aims to ramp up production from its current 2.6 Mlb/a U3O8 [1,000 t U/a] to approximately 3.7 Mlb/a U3O8 [1,423 t U/a] by early 2009.
The second stage of the expansion is targeted for 2010 and sees production at approximately 6.0 Mlb/a U3O8 [2,308 t U/a]. This latter stage has yet to be designed.
A document outlining the proposed changes in activities, impacts and proposed mitigation was prepared and submitted to MME and MET. Because the stage II expansion project is still within the scope of the original environmental approval LHU understood that an EIA would not be necessary but that the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) should be updated to reflect the changes. After reviewing the document, both Ministries confirmed that updating the EMP and communicating these changes to LHU's interested and affected parties is sufficient. (LHU May 28, 2008)

Intervention after sulphuric acid spill at Langer Heinrich mine leads to explosions

The spilling of a large quantity of sulphuric acid at the Langer Heinrich uranium mine has raised questions about safety procedures at the mine. The Namibian was informed that one of the mine's employees had lost his grip on the hose transferring the acid from a truck to a storage facility. The employee apparently fled to call for help, after which a forklift dumped a large quantity of caustic soda on the spill to neutralise the acid. The result was explosive, according to the sources. A series of loud bangs could be heard from a distance, but nobody was injured. (Namibian Apr. 25, 2008)

Langer Heinrich mine flooded after rainstorm

On March 27, 2008, the open pit of the Langer Heinrich mine was flooded with run-off water from a rainstorm. The pit will not be usable for about one month. During this time, Paladin intends to mine its second pit. (Allgemeine Zeitung Mar. 31, 2008)

Langer Heinrich mine reaches designed production level

On Jan. 14, 2008, Paladin Energy Ltd announced the the Langer Heinrich operations achieved the stated production target for the December quarter of 2007. Paladin now expects Langer Heinrich to produce at its nameplate design of 2.6 Mlb of uranium oxide U3O8 [1000 t U] for the calendar year 2008.

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Niger

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General · Ezulwini · Dominion Reefs · Stilfontein Tailings · Vaal river area


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Decommissioning Projects · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

General

South African gold/uranium mines causing excessive uranium concentrations in streams and stream sediments

> See here

Regulator withholds report on serious contamination of water and food from mining activities in Gauteng

> See here

10,000 miners exposed to excess radiation doses

The Council for Nuclear Safety (CNS) estimates that at least 10,000 mineworkers, or roughly one in 20 mineworkers, have been exposed to radiation levels that exceeded safety limits.

In 1998, according to CNS estimates, 1 000 employees at Harmony Gold mine were exposed to radiation levels that in some instances were three times higher than the annual dose limit of 20 mSv a year. At Nigel, workers were exposed to dose levels of up to 130 mSv a year, or seven times higher than the allowable limit. (Business Report external link Oct. 7, 1999)

 

Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project

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> View Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project spills and other incidents

Charges laid against AngloGold Ashanti over spill at Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project: Criminal charges are being laid against AngloGold Ashanti for a spill that resulted in uranium-laden water going into a tributary of the Vaal River. The allegation is that a spillage from a pipe at the mine's operations in Stilfontein, near Kerksdorp, last week led to uranium-laden water going into a local river.
An incident report, filed to the National Nuclear Regulator by the company, said the spillage had occurred due to a "pipeline failure" between two of the company's plants. It occurred last Tuesday (Aug. 27) after bolts in the pipe were stolen in a section of pipe next to the Koekemoerspruit, the report said. This led to one hectare being covered in polluted water, along a 1.6 km stretch of land. All pumping was stopped while the pipe was fixed. A wall was then constructed downstream to catch the bits of pollution in the water.
The charges are being laid by Mariette Liefferink, head of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, under Section 24 of the Bill of Rights. (Mail & Guardian Sep. 2, 2013)

Anglogold commissions completion of uranium recovery plant at Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project: On Aug. 22, 2013, MDM Engineering announced that AngloGold Ashanti has awarded the completion and commissioning of the MWS uranium plant in Stilfontein to MDM.

AngloGold Stilfontein tailings recovery plant charged with radioactive contamination: AngloGold Ashanti has been charged with contaminating water and "ongoing pollution" in Stilfontein by the Federation for Sustainable Environment external link. According to Mariette Liefferink, head of the Federation for Sustainable Environment, a massive spillage occurred in late December at the Stilfontein facility. (Mail & Guardian Jan. 8, 2013)

Buffelsfontein Mine Waste Solutions tailings reprocessing project sold to Anglogold: On July 20, 2012, First Uranium Corp announced the completion of the sale of Mine Waste Solutions to AngloGold Ashanti Limited.

Processing of first legacy tailings dam in Stilfontein area completed in Mine Waste Solutions tailings project: On Jan. 23, 2012, Mine Waste Solutions announced that "the crucial first step in the process of rehabilitating a series of 15 'legacy' tailings dams in the Stilfontein area, a result of decades of mining operations, has been achieved with the completion of the clean-up of a strategic site alongside the N12 highway near the town." [...] "The tailings dam next to the N12 highway has long been a source of dust pollution and concern within the community. The footprint of the site, known locally as the number two dam, covers approximately 160 hectares on a dolomite area," says Melt Marais, Environmental Manager at Mine Waste Solutions.

Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project spills and other incidents

(Source: National Nuclear Regulator (NNR))
TSF = Tailings Storage Facility

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Ezulwini mine

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First consignment of uranium shipped from Sibanye Gold Ltd's Ezulwini plant

On May 29, 2014, Sibanye Gold Ltd announced that it has produced and shipped its first consignment of uranium, in the form of 10 tonnes of ammonium diuranate ("ADU") to the Nuclear Fuels Corporation of South Africa (Proprietary) Limited ("NUFCOR"), where its precipitated ADU is calcined to form Uranium oxide or Uranium Ore Concentrates.
Uranium oxide production from Sibanye's Ezulwini plant is forecast to build up to approximately 600,000 pounds per annum [231 t U], by the end of 2016. Current ore reserve development at the Cooke 3 and 4 mines is expected to increase available face, thereby facilitating increased throughput from the uranium by-product areas.

Sibanye Gold Ltd acquires Cooke gold/uranium mine

On May 8, 2014, Sibanye Gold Ltd external link announced the closing of the acquisition of Gold One International Limited's West Rand operations ("Cooke operations").

Operations suspended at Ezulwini mine

On Oct. 16, 2012, Gold One International Limited announced that "operations at Ezulwini will be suspended for at least 30 days. This is to ensure the safety and security of employees and assets amidst rising intimidation and tension within the national mining sector."

Striking workers at Ezulwini mine dismissed

On Oct. 9, 2012, Gold One International Limited announced that "on 9 October 2012, following appropriate disciplinary procedures, the company dismissed approximately 1,435 of the total 1,900 employees at its Ezulwini Operation."

Striking workers at Ezulwini mine suspended

On Oct. 3, 2012, Gold One International Limited announced that "the company issued suspension notices to illegally striking workers at its Ezulwini operation, after repeated requests for workers to return to work were ignored."

Gold One acquires Ezulwini mine

On 3 August 2012, Gold One International Limited external link announced that the acquisition of First Uranium Limited, the holding company of Ezulwini Mining Company (Pty) Limited, was completed on 1 August 2012. Ezulwini will form part of the Cooke Underground Operations.

Russian group bids for Ezulwini gold/uranium mine

Russian billionaire Victor Vekselberg's Renova external link Group made a joint bid with South Africa's Waterpan Mining Consortium for a mine controlled by First Uranium Corp. (FIU), trumping an earlier offer. Konstantin Sadovnik, a director of Renova's Transalloys (Pty) Ltd. unit, said today in an e-mail that his company and Waterpan bid for the Ezulwini gold and uranium mine in South Africa. (Bloomberg Apr. 20, 2012)

Half of workforce at Ezulwini mine to be fired in response to fatal accidents' "impact on employee morale and productivity" (!)

"The extremely unfortunate fatal accidents in the latter half of the calendar year have had a significant impact on employee morale and productivity, and as such the expected improvement in production has not been forthcoming. We will, therefore, as required under South African labour laws, give notice today pursuant to Section 189(3) of SALRA in order to allow for contemplated possible employee reductions at the mine as part of developing a new operating plan that will focus on mining more profitable areas of the mine and reducing fixed costs in-line with the scale of the operation. The new operating plan may result in up to 1,850 employees being affected. The operation currently employs approximately 3,745 people." (First Uranium Corp. Dec. 19, 2011)

Another miner dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

"It is with deep regret that First Uranium Corporation today announced that a fall of ground has claimed the life of an underground employee at its Ezulwini Mine. The incident occurred on 48 level in an O-line stoping panel." (First Uranium Corp. Nov. 14, 2011)

Another miner dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

"First Uranium Corporation with deep regret announced today that a fall of ground accident has claimed the life of a rock drill operator at its Ezulwini Mine. The incident occurred on 13 September 2011 on number 50 level." (First Uranium Corp. Sep. 13, 2011)

Another fatal accident at Ezulwini mine

"First Uranium Corporation has regrettably announced that on August 11, 2011 a fatality occurred at the Ezulwini mine." (First Uranium Corp. Aug. 12, 2011)

Uranium plant at Ezulwini mine restarted after repairs

Yellow cake production re-commenced on April 12, 2011, and production build-up to planned levels is expected to occur over the next few weeks. (First Uranium Corporation Apr. 19, 2011)

Another miner dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

On March 14, 2011, First Uranium Corp. announced that on March 12, 2011 a fall of ground accident occurred on 33 level underground at the Ezulwini gold mine that has claimed the life of an employee.  A temporary work stoppage instruction has been issued by the Department of Mineral Resources, pursuant to section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act (South Africa), until such time as a preliminary investigation has been completed. 

Miner dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

A miner has died after a fall of ground at the Ezulwini mine in Westonaria, outside Johannesburg, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Tuesday (Nov. 16). "A mineworker lost his life (in the early hours of Tuesday morning) at the Rand Uranium's Ezulwini mine in Gauteng after a fall of ground," said NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka. (Independent Online Nov. 16, 2010)

Ezulwini uranium plant temporarily closed for repair works

On Aug. 31, 2010, First Uranium Corporation announced that it has temporarily closed its Ezulwini Uranium plant to replace two columns in the Ion Exchange section, following a structural failure on a loading column. The plant will be closed while two columns are designed, manufactured, installed and commissioned. The work is expected to be complete by year end.
On Jan. 27, 2011, First Uranium Corp. announced that that re-commissioning of the uranium plant is expected by the end of March 2011.

Worker dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

First Uranium on Friday (Sep. 18) reported a fatality at its Ezulwini mine, in South Africa. First Uranium spokesperson Bob Tait said that there was an unexpected fall of ground in the area where underground crews were installing permanent supports in a stope on the 45 level of the Middle Elsburg Reef horizon, which is the uranium and gold ore body at the Ezulwini mine. (Mining Weekly Sep. 18, 2009)
First Uranium Corp. said on Friday it suspended operations at its Ezulwini mine in South Africa after a worker was killed in an incident. "Our plants continue to operate on inventory in the silos," First Uranium spokesman Bob Tait said, adding the company's focus would be to investigate the cause of the incident, which happened on Thursday. (Reuters Sep. 18, 2009)
Mining resumed on Sep. 21, 2009. (Business Report Sep. 22, 2009)

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Dominion Reefs mine

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Dominion mine restarted by new owner; uranium production to begin "shortly"

Shiva Uranium Ltd. began gold output and plans to produce uranium "shortly" at the South African Dominion mine it bought from Uranium One Inc. last year. “We're looking at very shortly starting up the uranium processing plant,” Jagdish Parekh, chief executive officer of Hartbeesfontein, South Africa-based Shiva said by phone from Pretoria today. (Bloomberg Jan. 26, 2011)

Dominion mine to be restarted by new owner

A new start-up for the stranded Dominion uranium operation which was placed on care-and-maintenance by Uranium One in 2008 is expected before month-end. The expected restart is set to be effected by the new owner, the Zuma-linked Shiva Uranium external link. (Mining Weekly May 14, 2010)

Dominion mine sold

On May 10, 2010, Uranium One announced the completion in April 2010 of the sale of the Dominion Uranium Project.

Dominion mine shut down for poor economics

On Oct. 22, 2008, Uranium One Inc. announced its decision to place the Dominion Uranium Project on care and maintenance. The decision "reflects the significant deterioration in the Project's economics associated with the continuing decline in uranium prices over the last year and significant inflation-related increases in Project costs, together with a slower than expected ramp-up in development and production."

Uranium One suspends Dominion mine operations upon strike

On Oct. 10, 2008, Uranium One Inc. announced that it has temporarily suspended mine operations at the Dominion Uranium Project in South Africa. According to the company, this action follows labour disruptions this week at the project, which culminated in a general illegal strike.

Workers go on strike against poor working conditions at Klerksdorp uranium mine

On July 11, 2008, workers at Uranium One's mine near Klerksdorp in the North West are to march against poor working conditions, police said. Superintendent Lesego Metsi said the march had not started yet and police were on the scene to ensure everything went off peacefully. "Workers are going to stop operations and march against poor working conditions, treatment of workers at the mines and salary increases." "It is not a strike action as far as we know. It is just a protest by workers to take their demands to management," he said. (Pretoria News July 11, 2008)

Production forecast cut for Dominion Reefs mine

Uranium One slashed its 2008 production forecast for the Dominion mine due to slow underground development. The mine produced only 171,000 pounds U3O8 [65.8 t U] in 2007 and is scheduled to produce 590,000 pounds [227 t U] in 2008. It was previously estimated to produce 2 million pounds [769 t U] in 2008. The company had been planning to produce an average of 3.8 million pounds [1,462 t U] per year by 2011 from the mine, but further delays will push this timeline back. (Resource Investor Feb. 21, 2008)

Stormwater dam fails at Dominion Reefs uranium mine

About 100 million litres of water was spilled from Uranium One's Dominion Reefs uranium mine near Klerksdorp on Dec. 8, 2007, when a section of the dam wall broke after a heavy rainstorm. But Robert van Niekerk, Uranium One vice-president for Africa and Europe, dismissed concerns that the water might be radioactive. "Preliminary tests on the water in the veld and the Jagspruit have showed that it does not hold any danger for flora and fauna. The quality of the water is consistent with that of the Jagspruit, at any time of the year," said Van Niekerk. The water in the dam that caved in, was apparently only stormwater. The walls of the nearby silt (tailings) dam did not break. Van Niekerk said about 58 mm of rain fell in half an hour in the afternoon of Dec. 8, 2007. There were also heavy rains earlier in the week. The dam level rose rapidly. When the dam overflowed, a section of the wall caved in. (Beeld Dec. 10, 2007)

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Vaal river area

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AngloGold plans to expand its South Uranium plant

In the short term AngloGold wants to lift uranium production from 1.3-million pounds U3O8 [500 t U] a year to 2-million pounds U3O8 [769 t U]. It could generate 1.4-million pounds U3O8 [538 t U] of uranium this year, accounting for nearly all of South Africa's uranium production. AngloGold plans to expand its South Uranium plant to handle increased volumes from its Kopanang mine, which has higher uranium grades and volumes than the Great Noligwa mine, which is nearing the end of its life, Robbie Lazare, executive vice-president in charge of South Africa, said last week. (Business Day Sep. 6, 2010)

AngloGold plans new uranium plant at Kopanang mine

AngloGold Ashanti was planning a new R1-billion-plus uranium expansion at the Kopanang mine to take production to more than two-million pounds U3O8 [769 t U] a year, AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani said. Uranium production was up another 5% to 369,000 lb U3O8 [142 t U] in the quarter, in line with AngloGold Ashanti's 1.4-million pounds U3O8 [538 t U] full-year target from the present 1.2-million pounds U3O8 [462 t U]. (Mining Weekly May 15, 2009)

AngloGold Ashanti cancels uranium delivery contracts

On July 14, 2008, AngloGold Ashanti announced that it has "cancelled 1.0 million pounds U3O8 of its outstanding uranium contracts, which together with the deliveries effected since the start of the year, represents a reduction of 30% of uranium contracts that were outstanding as at 1 January 2008. This cancellation, which will result in a one-off pre-tax charge of US$32 million against second quarter's adjusted headline earnings, will result in the company beginning to participate in the uranium spot market from 2009."

AngloGold offers to process waste containing uranium for rivals

AngloGold Ashanti was "happy" to process mine waste containing uranium for rivals as record prices spur them to extract the nuclear fuel, the gold producer has said. "We'd be happy to use our plant to toll-treat their material on a commercial basis," chief executive Bobby Godsell said. AngloGold, which produces uranium as a by-product of gold mining, owns one of South Africa's only operational plants that can process the metal. Smaller rivals Gold Fields, Harmony Gold Mining and First Uranium are investigating ways to extract uranium left behind in waste dumps across the Witwatersrand and Free State gold fields. (Business Report May 4, 2007)

AngloGold plans uranium output increase

AngloGold Ashanti may raise annual uranium production to between 1,000 and 1,100 metric tons from about 700 tons currently, Steve Lenahan, a spokesman for the Johannesburg-based company, said in an interview. The company currently produces uranium as a byproduct of gold mining at its Great Noligwa mine in South Africa and expects to boost output when its Moab Khotsong mine opens.
The company is also studying whether to upgrade a processing plant so that it can process ore from the Kopanang dump, Lenahan said. (Business Report April 4, 2006)

AngloGold Ashanti is planning to increase the amount of uranium produced as a byproduct from its gold mining operations in the Vaal River area. AngloGold plans to increase its current production of 900 to 1,000 tonnes of uranium a year by developing its new Moab Khotsong gold mine, where it expects to move into areas of higher-grade uranium. (MineWeb Jan. 20, 2005)

 

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