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Uranium from Africa. Mitigation of Uranium Mining Impacts on Society and Environment by Industry and Governments , 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 , by Albert ten Kate & Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, SOMO/WISE, March 2011
> See also: Mining in Malawi blog
> View deposit info
Study finds elevated levels of uranium in soils around mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine:
"The activity concentrations of 238U, 232Th and 40K in the soil of areas surrounding the Kayelekera uranium mine were assessed. [...]
Results from this study have indicated changes in radioactivity levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials in the area surrounding the understudied mine, with certain areas close to the mine site showing elevated levels of 238U, highlighting the need for systematic and periodic monitoring."
Radioactivity Assessment of Surface Soil in the Vicinity of a Uranium Mine in Malawi, by Majawa LJ, Tshivhase VM, Dlamini T, in: Radiation Protection Dosimetry, aheadofprint, Aug. 25, 2022
Positive Definitive Feasibility Study announced for restart of mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine:
On Aug. 11, 2022, Lotus Resources Ltd announced the results from the Definitive Feasibility Study (Restart DFS) for the restart of the Kayelekera Uranium Project in Malawi.
The Restart DFS has confirmed Kayelekera ranks as one of the lowest capital cost uranium projects globally whilst also having the ability to quickly recommence production (15 months development for construction/refurbishment) once a Final Investment Decision (FID) has been made.
Malawi government insists on better deal for restart of mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine:
Government has put its foot down on Kayelekera Uranium Mine and is demanding a better and an improved Mine Development Agreement (MDA) than the one it had with the mine's previous investor Paladin Energy.
Mining Secretary Joseph Mkandawire said what Lotus is asking for is a "nonstarter" and while negotiations are ongoing, its proposal will not be accepted. (Malawi Nation May 15, 2022)
Mining licence renewed for mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine: On Sep. 14, 2021, Lotus Resources Limited announced the renewal of the company's mining and exploration licences for its Kayelekera Project. The Mining Licence, ML0152, which was signed by the Honourable Rashid Abdul Gaffar, Minister of Mines, on 1 September 2021 in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act, has been renewed for 15 years.
Feasibility Study underway for restart of mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine: On Sep. 8, 2021, Lotus Resources announced that it has commenced a Definitive Feasibility Study for the restart of its Kayelekera Uranium Project, expected to be completed by mid-2022.
Scoping Study issued for restart of mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine: On Oct. 20, 2020, Lotus Resources released the results of a scoping study for the restart of the Kayelekera uranium mine, indicating "C1 cash costs of US$33/lb U3O8 with average production of 2.4Mlbs U3O8 [923 t U] per annum1, and multiple opportunities identified to further reduce these costs [...].".
Water treatment plant at mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine shut down and decommissioned: On July 9, 2020, Lotus Resources Ltd made an announcement on cost reduction in care and maintenance cost guidance at the mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine, including the following: "Water treatment plant is shut down and fully decommissioned." and "Water management will be based on a more cost-effective evaporation system."
Heavy rainfall results in release at mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine: Prior to the sale, quarterly activities focused on routine C&M activities. Record levels of rainfall during March 2020 resulted in a relatively minor release of rainfall runoff water. The runoff was continuously monitored, analysed and found to be lower than World Health Organization compliance and statutory license limits for uranium and other contaminants in the river system. (Paladin Energy Apr. 30, 2020)
Sale of Paladin's mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine to Lotus Resources completed: On March 13, 2020, Paladin Energy Ltd announced the completion of the sale of its Kayelekera uranium mine to Lotus Resources Ltd. On the same day, Paladin Energy Ltd became the holder of 14.46% of Lotus Resources Ltd.
Ministry Consent issued for sale of Paladin's majority stake in mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine:
On Mar. 2, 2020, Paladin Energy Limited announced that the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining and the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Development in Malawi have now provided the outstanding Ministry Consent (Contractual) required for the completion of the sale of its 85% interest in Paladin (Africa) Ltd to Lotus Resources Limited (65%) and Lily Resources Pty Ltd (20%).
The completion of the sale is now subject to one final condition precedent being Reserve Bank of Malawi approval, which is expected to follow this Ministry consent and be received on or before 13 March 2020.
Ministry approves sale of Paladin's majority stake in mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine: On Dec. 20, 2019, Lotus Resources Ltd announced that Malawi's Minister for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has given Statutory Consent for Paladin Energy Limited to divest its 85% interest in the Kayelekera uranium project to Lotus Resources Limited (65%) and Kayelekera Resources Pty Ltd (20%).
Paladin again overstates discharges from mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine by a factor of 1000:
In its Sustainability Report 2019, Paladin repeats the error made in the edition for the previous year: it states the total discharges from the Kayelekera mine to the Sere River as 541,482 Megalitres per year, overstating the actual discharges by a factor of 1000. The uranium concentration in the discharged water was 11 micrograms per litre.
So, apparently nobody is checking the company's reports before publication. And, this raises the question whether other figures might be understated by a similar factor? What is the value of a report, if its figures cannot be trusted at all?
> Download: Paladin Energy Ltd: Sustainability Report 2019 , Nov. 19, 2019 (1.4MB PDF)
Paladin to sell its interest in mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine: On June 24, 2019, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that it has agreed to sell its 85% interest in the Kayelekera uranium mine to Lotus Resources Pty Ltd , a joint venture of Hylea Metals Limited (76.5%) and Chichewa Resources Pty Ltd (23.5%).
Paladin acting big: mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine discharged over 1.1 billion cubic metres of treated water into Sere River, according to 2018 Sustainability Report:
Between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, Paladin's mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine discharged 1,187,293 Megalitres of treated water into the Sere River. Or, at least, this is what the company's latest Sustainability Report declares. It remains the secret of the company, however, why it apparently states a figure that is 1000 times the actual figure.
The uranium concentration of the discharged water was 6.5 micrograms per litre.
> Download: Paladin Energy Ltd: Sustainability Report 2018 (1.5MB PDF)
Paladin: currently no water treatment necessary at mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine: On Oct. 19, 2018, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that no water treatment was carried out during the quarter ending Sep. 30, 2018, "as target levels [were] achieved for all water storage ponds." The water treatment plant is, however, being prepared for treatment of water for the 2018/2019 wet season.
India considers uranium imports from Paladin's mothballed Kayelekera mine:
Malawi and India are engaged in negotiations for a possible uranium deal which could see India importing the yellow cake from Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga.
Secretary to the Treasury Ben Botolo and Indian High Commissioner Suresh Kumar Menon said in separate interviews yesterday that the two countries were discussing the possible deal.
A breakthrough in the talks would give a new lease of life into a venture whose operations were suspended in 2015 due to a slump in global prices for uranium.
The talks also come at a time the 15-year contract between Malawi Government and current majority shareholder in the mine, Australian-listed Paladin Energy Limited, is nearing the end.
In an interview, Botolo said he was aware of the negotiations between the two sides, but requested for more time to respond to questions on the matter. But Menon exclusively told The Nation that while there was no investment proposal or mine development plan from the Indian Government, New Delhi has requested Lilongwe to provide a technical report on the matter. (Malawi Nation Jan. 24, 2018)
Paladin's mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine to resume operations in a month's time, Minister: Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka Wednesday (Feb. 15) told parliament that Kayerekera uranium mine which stopped its operations in 2015, will resume its operations in a month's time. (Nyasa Times Feb. 16, 2017)
Is a mine wall failure the reason for Paladin's rejection of visitors to the mothballed Kayelekera mine site?:
> View satellite image of Kayelekera mine on Google Maps (Sep. 10, 2016)
Paladin and Malawi government reject request to disclose water monitoring data of Kayelekera uranium mine:
According to a report on BBC News Jan. 25, 2017, the mining company Paladin as well as the government of Malawi have turned down requests to disclose the results of water monitoring performed in the surroundings of the currently mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine, leaving residents deeply worried.
> Watch BBC News video , Jan. 25, 2017
Malawi court convicts visiting Tanzanians near Kayelekera uranium mine on criminal trespass:
A magistrate court in the northern city of Mzuzu has convicted eight Tanzanian national in the infamous Kayelekera uranium mine spies case who were facing criminal trespassing charges.
Eight Tanzanians were arrested in December for allegedly going to Kayelekera Uranium mine without government consent. They were charged with criminal trespassing charge and other related charges.
Chief resident Magistrate for the north, Texious Masoamphambe said by entering the premises of Kayelekera without the knowledge of the uranium miners, Paladin, the Tanzanians committed an offence of criminal trespassing and carrying out a reconnaissance operation without permit or license which against Section 314 (1) of the Penal Code and Section 2 of Mines and Minerals Act.
Masoaphambe said he will pass his sentence on April 12. (Nyasa Times Apr. 4, 2017)
Human rights group exposes arbitrary detainment of visiting Tanzanians near Kayelekera uranium mine for more than three months:
"The court proceedings in the case of Malawi against 8 Tanzanian environmental defenders have shown without doubt that the 8 persons detained had been lured into a trap set up by Malawi authorities, they were then arrested under the pretense of 'trespassing'; 5 Malawian accompanyiing them, arrested at the very same spot, were set free again immediately.
Another alleged charge refering to 'carrying out a reconnaissance activity' re: mineral resources - with a vacuum (thermos) flask and a pH-testing-paper as pieces of evidence - proofed to be completely unsubstantiated after the Director of Mines in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, called as a witness by the state prosecutor, confessed in court on 22. February that all the suspects did not need any licence for the activities planned (which they never were able to carry out).
The court case has been postponed 8 times, and the final ruling was postponed twice for three weeks each time. [...]" (uranium-network.org)
> Download: Report on 8 Tanzanian Environmental and Human Rights Defenders arbitrarily detained in Malawi since 22. Dec. 2017 , Menschenrechte 3000 e.V., Feb. 28, 2017, and updated Mar. 16, 2017 (1MB PDF)
> See also: Why Malawi's case against the Tanzanian eight is a travesty of justice , by David Fig, The Conversation, April 2, 2017
State prosecutor's witnesses fail to substantiate charges against visiting Tanzanians arrested near Kayelekera uranium mine:
> Download: Report on the continuation of court case against 8 Tanzanians detained in Malawi, on 13. and 14. February 2017, by Bright Phiri & Nicely Msowoya (206k PDF)
Human rights groups call for release of visiting Tanzanians arrested near Kayelekera uranium mine:
After more than three weeks of allegations in the media, about eight Tanzanian citizens who are being held by the Malawian authorities for being suspected of committing the offence of criminal trespass at Kayelekera Uranium mine at Karonga District in Malawi, recent reports say the accusations have changed.
According to Tanzanian human rights organisations who are following up the matter, the accusations have kept on changing repeatedly from "trespassing" to "collecting confidential information without permission" to "espionage or spying" - and back again to "trespassing" and "carrying out a reconnaissance operation without permit".
Tanzania Human rights defenders coalition in collaboration with other human rights organisations such as the Business and Human Rights Tanzania (BHRT) have therefore called on the government of Tanzania to issue an ultimatum to Malawian government to release them. The organisations have also called on the government of Malawi to stop mistreating the eight Tanzanians in prison and postponing their case unnecessarily saying the rule of law should be strictly observed. (The Guardian (Tanzania) Feb. 15, 2017)
Visiting Tanzanians arrested near Kayelekera uranium mine face harassment:
Human rights organizations based in Tanzania raised concern on Sunday (Feb. 12) over what they described as harassment of Tanzanians detained in Malawi over alleged trespassing and reconnaissance.
The eight Tanzanians were arrested in December last year in the border district of Karonga after they reportedly tried to enter a uranium mine in Malawi. It was later reported that they were taken to court.
"They are being mistreated and denied legal and humanitarian rights," said lawyers of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) and the Tanzania Business and Human Rights Organization (TBHRO).
Flaviana Charles, TBHRO Executive Director, said a team of lawyers from TBHRO and their counterparts in Malawi investigated the matter for three weeks since December 29, and found that the Tanzanians were being mistreated. She told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam that the detained Tanzanians were being denied private communication with families and lawyers. "Since their mobile phones and laptops have been surrendered to the police, communication to families and lawyers have been restricted," said Charles. She added: "They also can't spend their money to buy food and water as allowed by law." Onesmo Olengurumwa, THRDC national coordinator, said Tanzania should press for the release of its eight citizens without conditions. (Xinhua Feb. 12, 2017)
Human rights organisations launch appeal on behalf of visiting Tanzanians arrested near Kayelekera uranium mine:
> View: "HUMAN RIGHTS 3000" Working Group uranium-network.org demands Release of 8 Tanzanian Cooperants detained in Malawi, Jan. 23, 2017
> Download: uranium-network.org fordert Freilassung von acht in Malawi inhaftierten tansanischen Partnern (67k PDF - in German)
> View: Continued detention of eight Tanzanian environmental defenders, and intimidatory acts against their lawyers , Jan. 20, 2017 (Front Line Defenders)
Visiting Tanzanians arrested near Kayelekera uranium mine denied bail: The Mzuzu Chief Residents Magistrate Tecious Masoyamphambe has on Tuesday (Jan. 17) denied bail to the eight Tanzanian nationals who were arrested on 20 December last year at Kayerekera Uranium Mine Site in Karonga on allegations of criminal trespsass. (Nyasa Times Jan. 18, 2017)
Visiting Tanzanians arrested near Kayelekera uranium mine were not even trespassing, not to mention spying, lawyer:
In a statement released on Jan. 10, 2017, advocate Bright Phiri clarified that the eight Tanzanians still imprisoned in Malawi were arrested on Dec. 20, 2016, when leaving the lodge where they had spent the night. So they even haven't had any chance to commit any trespassing they still are charged with.
> Download: Commons for EcoJustice Media Briefing, by Bright Phiri, Jan. 10, 2017 (923k PDF)
Visiting Caritas workers from Tanzania arrested near Kayelekera uranium mine:
A statement issued by Tanzania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation yesterday [...] refuted reports that eight Tanzanians who were recently arrested in neighbouring Malawi, were not spies but rather workers of CARITAS Tanzania based in Songea, Ruvuma Region, an aid agency of the Catholic Church.
Media reports from Malawi last week alleged that authorities in that country had arrested eight Tanzanian 'spies' near the Kayerekera Uranium Mine. In the press statement yesterday, which refuted the claims of Tanzania sending spies to Malawi, the government said it was working through its High Commission in Lilongwe to address the matter as the eight Tanzanians are still remanded in Mzuzu Prison in that country.
According to media reports from Malawi, the eight Tanzanians were arrested on suspicion that they were sent by the government of Tanzania to find out whether Malawi was making nuclear weapons from the uranium mine.
"After the reports emerged, the ministry, through our High Commission in Malawi, made a follow-up and established the truth that the arrested Tanzanians worked for CARITAS Tanzania in Songea. The Tanzanians were arrested by security agencies at Karonga District in Malawi, which borders Kyela District in Tanzania. They are now being charged with criminal trespass. It explained further that after communicating with CARITAS, the government was informed that the eight Tanzanians had travelled to Malawi to find out effects of uranium mining at the Kayerekera site. [...]," the statement said. (Daily News (Tanzania) Dec. 30, 2016)
Note: The Tanzanians are from the area where the Mkuju River uranium mine is planned.
Paladin's mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine needs a breakeven price of US$ 58/lb U3O8 to reopen, study:
An assessment published by OpenOil showed that the Kayelekera uranium mine needs a breakeven price of US$ 58/lb U3O8 to reopen, while the October 2016 uranium spot price is US$ 20-26/lb U3O8.
> Kayelekera Model & Narrative Report (OpenOil, Nov. 9, 2016)
26 Tanzanian scholars barred from visiting Kayelekera Uranium mine site:
The Malawi Immigration department at Songwe border in Karonga barred 26 Tanzanian students of Moravian University of Theology based in Tukuyu from visiting Kayerekera Uranium Mine Site on Tuesday (Oct. 11) over the Lake disagreement between the two neighboring countries.
The students' visitation at the mine site was aimed at seeing the economic impact of the mine to the community as well as the nation as a whole.
According to the Secretary General of the Moravian Church, Rev Leman Jere who led the group, the development was a surprise to them. "We already agreed with the Kayerekera officials before the day but we were flabbergasted to see that the Malawi Immigration department blocked the students saying it was because of security issues," said Jere. (Maravi Post Oct. 12, 2016)
Paladin sued for Kayelekera uranium mine's damage to miners' health and environment: A human rights body in Malawi has sued Paladin Africa Limited (PAL) for alleged grave damage the Kayelekera Uranium Mine has caused to some miners and the surrounding communities in Karonga district. The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) is accusing PAL of not prioritising the welfare of its employees and the communities. It has been revealed that Kayelekera Uranium Mine has negatively impacted not only on the natural resources like land, water and aquatic life but also on the lives of many people who have developed different forms of physical disorders on their bodies. (Capital Radio Malawi June 23, 2016)
Security guards at mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine down tools over poor working conditions: The security staff at Kayerekera uranium mine in Karonga the northern part of Malawi on Thursday (June 16) started boycotting their work due to poor working condition. (Nyasa Times June 17, 2016)
Floodings at Paladin's mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine raise water contamination fears:
The continuing heavy rains in Karonga have resulted in the flooding of Paladin's Kayerekela Uranium Mine tailing dams, a development that has sent shivers of apprehension among water users in the district.
The dams empty into the Sere River which feeds into the Rukuru River and the Lake Malawi.
(Nyasa Times Apr. 15, 2016)
[However, the picture attached to the article appears to show a water retention pond rather than a tailings dam.]
On Apr. 18, 2016, Paladin clarified that an overflow occured from a rainfall runoff water catchment pond, while the freeboard levels of the tailings dam remain within the approved operating design criteria.
Communities oppose discharge of treated waste water from Paladin's mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine into public rivers:
Communities living along the northern part of Lake Malawi in Karonga district have launched a spirited campaign to stop Uranium Miner Paladin Africa Limited from dumping 'toxic' waste into Lake Malawi.
They say the move will put peoples lives at risk and damage the environment.
But Paladin Africa Limited counter argues that it commenced the release of the treated waste in compliance with the licence criteria set by the Malawi government and also World Health Organisation drinking water guidelines for uranium content. (Malawi24 July 10, 2015)
Paladin starts discharging treated waste water from mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine into public rivers: Few months after Paladin Africa Limited differed with civil society organizations (CSOs) and some chiefs in Karonga over the disposition of uranium wastes into public water, the company has started discharging the effluent into Sere River. The process is expected to take place for three months. Paladin decided to discharge the waste from its storage dam at Kayelekera because the dam was full, such that it could get flooded after heavy rains. (Malawi News Agency Apr. 23, 2015)
Independent radiation monitoring results published for Kayelekera uranium mine, indicating failure of Paladin's zero-discharge policy:
In May 2012, independent radiation laboratory CRIIRAD collected samples and performed radiation measurements in the surroundings of the Kayelekera uranium mine. The results are presented in a report released on Feb. 22, 2015.
The sampling showed, in particular, elevated uranium concentrations in the water of the Champhanji creek which flows from the open pit mine to the Sere river. While the creek had already shown elevated concentrations before mining started, the current value of 5,230 µg U/L is more than 40 times higer, indicating an impact of the then operating uranium mine. Approx. 1.6 km downstream from the confluence with Sere River, a still elevated value of 42.8 µg U/L was found - exceeding the WHO recommendation for drinking water of 30 µg U/L. Further downstream in the North Rukuru river, the impact is much lower (1.45 µg U/L), but the uranium concentration is still higher than upstream from the uranium mine.
These findings are particularly disturbing in view of Paladin's initial intention to run the mine as a zero-discharge operation.
> Download: Impact of the Kayelekera uranium mine, Malawi, by Bruno Chareyron, EJOLT Report No. 21, Feb. 2015 (3.9MB PDF)
Paladin finally allows civil society organisations' long-denied site visit at Kayelekera mine; details of agreement with Malawi government still withheld:
The Ministry of Natural resources, Energy and Mines facilitated a visit of civil society organisations (CSOs), chiefs and the people of Karonga to Kayerekera Uranium mine last week after they were initially denied entry to the mine recently.
Before departure, the CSOs requested that a checklist be produced to guide the visitors to the mine. In particular, they requested for a briefing on what was agreed between government and the company as contained in documents such as Environmental Impact Assessment report, among others. However, these documents were not provided, a development which irked the CSOs who argued that government was deliberately shielding the mine from some illicit activities. (BNL Times Jan. 19, 2014)
Storm damage causes spill at Paladin's mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine: On Jan. 7, 2015, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that the Kayelekera Mine suffered some "minor" storm damage during the night of 5 January 2015 when a 20-minute, high-intensity storm resulted in some 25 mm of rain falling at the Site. The resultant surge of stormwater caused the liner in the plant run-off tank to rupture, releasing up to 500 m3 of material to the bunded areas of the site. Up to 0.05m3 (50 litres) may have overtopped one of the containment bunds due to the nature of the rainfall event at the time.
On Feb. 10, 2015, Paladin Energy announced that sampling undertaken by Paladin and the Malawi's Water Resources Department showed that no contamination had occurred. The Company also obtained confirmation through analysis of duplicate water samples undertaken by an accredited, global and independent laboratory services group. The independent results confirmed the results obtained by Paladin from its own laboratory and those collected by the Malawi authorities.
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 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$20 million (almost K8 billion) a year in taxes," he said.
> View: UN Human Rights release July 22, 2013
> View: End of mission statement by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Malawi 12 to 22 July 2013 , July 22, 2013
Malawi lost over US$ 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 (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 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 , 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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