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Regulatory Issues - Africa

(last updated 27 Oct 2021)


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


IAEA holds first School on Drafting Nuclear Security Regulations for African Countries

Professionals from 10 African countries reviewed the status of their countries' regulatory frameworks for the security of radioactive material and developed action plans to address any identified gaps during the IAEA's first School on Drafting Nuclear Security Regulations for African Countries. The 4 to 7 February event, held in Vienna, was a pilot school focused on nuclear security regulations, with more schools planned for other regions. It was inspired by the IAEA's well-established School for Drafting Regulations for Radiation Safety.
Lawyers and nuclear scientists from Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia took part in the school. Several participants also attended the third School for Drafting Regulations for Radiation Safety for African Countries, which was held immediately before the new security school.
IAEA staff and experts from Canada, Lithuania and the United States guided the participants as they worked on their national regulations for the security of radioactive material and developed action plans. Participants also discussed their experiences and shared best practices. (IAEA Feb. 21, 2019)

EU project looks into regulatory issues connected to proposed uranium mining in the sub-Saharan region and associated cross-boundary uranium transports

This project looks in particular into the proposed transport of uranium ore concentrate from Tanzania to Namibia through Malawi and Zambia.
> Download: Fact sheet - Project MC5.01/15B - Support to Southern African states in nuclear safety and safeguards (MS Word), International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), Astana (Project duration: November 2016 - November 2019)
> View: Project MC5.01/15B (ISTC)

Many African countries lack capacity to regulate uranium mining - think-tank

Africa currently produces 18% of the world's uranium and holds 15% of the global reserves of the energy mineral but, typically, many African countries do not have the capacity to implement at the level of regulation which should be in place for sustainable and safe uranium mining.
This is the view of South African Institute of International Affairs Governance of Africa's Resources Programme political analyst and research associate Nicolas Dasnois, who says: "At the moment, sustainable uranium mining depends mostly on the industry's goodwill." (Mining Weekly July 6, 2012)


Central African Republic   flag

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

Central African Republic apparently not prepared to regulate uranium mining, WISE/SOMO report finds

From the conclusions on the Central African Republic from a report prepared by WISE and SOMO:
"The Central African Republic does not seem to be prepared to host a high-impact uranium mine. Institutions are not available, knowledge and skills needed to specifically manage uranium mining operation impacts are not to be found in the country. The Central African Republic has all the factors that could lead to bad performance of the mine, from political instability, low education levels, insufficient legislation and law enforcement."
> Download: 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)

Central African Republic accepted as EITI compliant country

On March 1, 2011, the Central African Republic has been accepted as an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) compliant country. The EITI sets a global standard for companies to publish what they pay and for governments to disclose what they receive.
> View EITI release Mar. 2, 2011
> View EITI: Central African Republic


Gabon   flag

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

Gabon creates nuclear safety agency

The government of Gabon has adopted a bill for the creation of a nuclear safety and security agency (Agence gabonaise de sûreté et de sécurité nucléaires - AGSSN). The decision came after doubts were raised (see here) by the NGO Brainforest about the independence of a previous agency (Centre national de prévention et de protection contre les rayonnements ionisants - CNPPRI). (AFP Oct. 15, 2010)


Malawi   flag

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

New Mines and Minerals law for Malawi

President Peter Mutharika has assented to eight bills, including the Mines and Minerals law  which is expected to bring sanity in the chaotic mining industry. This law will replace the 1981 Mines and Mineral Act which experts say has failed to deal with emerging issues facing the sector. The proposed Bill which is divided in 20 parts, seeks to regulate the development of mineral resources of Malawi through adherence to sustainable development principles. Parliament spokesperson Leonard Mengezi has confirmed that the President has assented to the bills. "What is now remaining is for the bills to be gazetted," said Mengezi.
President Mutharika is on record telling Parliament that government hopes to enhance the development of the mining sector and increase its benefits to the people. He said: "In recognition of the huge potential the mining sector has on the country's economic growth and development, government is implementing a number of activities aimed at increasing investments in the sector." Some of the implemented activities include capacity building in mining contract negotiation and development of modern mining agreements. The President said the capacity building is meant to ensure that the country enters into mining agreements that are balanced, equitable, fair and beneficial to the people. The Mines and Minerals Act will help  regulate the mining industry which has of late been hit by illegal miners. (Nyasa Times Feb. 14, 2019)

> View: press release by Natural Resources Justice Network & Publish What you Pay Malawi (Dec. 11, 2018)

Information bill to aid mining communities in Malawi

Malawi's recently passed information bill could help communities affected by the extractive industries get information about related environmental, health, and safety risks, Human Rights Watch , Malawi's Natural Resources Justice Network , and the Centre for Law and Democracy said today.
Malawi's parliament adopted the bill with amendments on December 14, 2016. It was sent to President Peter Mutharika the week of January 16, 2017. It will enter into force once signed by the president and published in the official Gazette. The Malawian Natural Resources Justice Network has been advocating for more than a decade for access to information that helps communities make informed decisions and hold duty-bearers accountable in the extractive industries.
"The new law means that people in Malawi's mining communities should be able to get vital information they need to protect their lives and livelihoods," said Katharina Rall, researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The president should sign the law, and the government should act quickly to put it into effect."
> View Human Rights Watch release Jan. 25, 2017

Last week, Malawi's President Peter Mutharika signed into law a bill that enables people to request and obtain vital information such as water-quality testing results. (Human Rights Watch Feb. 19, 2017)

Malawi fails to establish nuclear regulator

[...] He [Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management Director of Environmental Affairs Aloysius Kamperewera] further blamed the situation on failure by the country to establish a regulatory authority as mandated by the current Atomic Energy Act -- and the subsequent lack of experts in the field. [...] According to the officials, the Ministry of Mines requested in vain Treasury to release funding amounting to K375 million [US$ 1 million] for the establishment of the regulation authority. [...] (BNL Times Sep. 26, 2013)
> See also: Malawi government unable to verify allegations of radiation-induced diseases among Kayelekera uranium mine workers

Malawi, Zambia, and Namibia to harmonise regulations to ease uranium transportation - but, non-proliferation no issue?

Malawi alongside other Sadc (Southern African Development Community) countries such as Zambia and Namibia are planning to harmonise regulations on uranium transportation in order to ease hurdles when transporting the yellow cake.
This was disclosed by the Director of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Aloysius Kamperewera, in Lilongwe on Monday (Nov. 5) when he opened a three-day State Systems of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material Workshop organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Kamperewera said due to sensitivity of uranium, countries in which uranium consignments pass through impose difficult conditions, saying this prompted the concerned countries to harmonise the regulations. He said technical discussions have already started with Namibia and Zambia through which Malawi's uranium passes to Canada.
General Manager of Kayerekera Uranium Mine Greg Walker recently disclosed that a consignment of uranium was delayed for a month following a refusal by the Namibian Government to grant permit. Addressing the recent Economic Conference in Lilongwe, Walker said he had to travel to Namibia recently to negotiate with authorities to allow the consignment to pass through. (Daily Times Nov. 8, 2012)

There is no mention in the article, whether non-proliferation measures are to be improved, as well. This should be an urgent issue, given the recent disclosure of the illicit use of uranium for crop preservation in Tanzania!

Malawi Parliament passes atomic energy bill

The National Assembly on Tuesday (May 31) afternoon passed an atomic energy bill into law, the first step on the introduction of comprehensive legislation to provide for adequate protection of people as well as the environment against harmful effects of radiation, nuclear material and radioactive materials.
Parliamentarians from both sides said the bill was long overdue in view of the uranium mining activities in the country which are not bringing in wealth alone but harmful effects on people who work there and in surrounding communities. (Daily Times Jun. 2, 2011)

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

Reinford Mwagonde, director of environment and human rights lobby group Citizens for Justice Malawi (CJM), said a report on Malawi's draft uranium regulations concluded Paladin would be allowed to self-regulate, particularly in controlling contaminated water flowing into Lake Malawi, a major source of food and water. The report, by Darwin-based scientific consultant Howard Smith, said the regulations were "essentially a self-regulation system, which will ultimately result in releases (of contaminated water) that are under-reported, uncontrolled and hidden from the affected public". (The Age, Sep. 20, 2009)


Mali   flag

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

Mali aims to lure investors with mining code review

Mali plans to overhaul its mining code to lure investors into resources such as oil and uranium before an expected fall in output of its main export-earner gold, officials said. "The measures will include a review of the mining code with the principal objective of promoting other minerals," Diakaridia Fomba, spokesman for Mali's Ministry of Mines told Reuters. "The review will seek to ease the procedures for acquiring permits for exploration or exploitation," Fomba added. Fomba did not give a timeframe for the review nor when the process will begin but said research by the government and some companies had already identified potential mineral resources. (Mining Weekly May 11, 2011)


Namibia   flag

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

Namibia moves to prevent sell-out of exploration licenses to foreigners

Diamond and uranium producer Namibia said on Wednesday (Mar. 3) that locals who own mineral exploration licences will no longer be able to sell out to foreigners, in a move aimed at curtailing speculation in the sector.
Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo told Reuters that effective April 1, Namibian mining exploration licence holders will be required by law to retain at least a 15% stake. (Reuters Mar. 3, 2021)

As from 1 April this year, all applications for a mining licence in Namibia must have 15% local owners, the Ministry of Mines and Energy announced last week.
The ministry announced in a press release that all "applications by Namibian nationals for the transfer, cessation, assignment of mineral licences to foreign companies or persons may be granted provided 15% interest in the company is retained locally". (The Namibian Mar. 9, 2021)

Namibia abandons rules for black ownership of mineral exploration companies

Namibia has scrapped a requirement for companies seeking mining exploration licences to be partly owned and managed by black Namibians, the country's mining industry group said on Friday (Oct. 26).
The policy was introduced in 2015 to increase the participation of historically disadvantaged black Namibians in some of the country's most lucrative business projects, but critics said it threatened the diamond and uranium producer's ability to attract investment.
The Namibian chamber of mines said on Friday the requirements had been set aside by mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo in a letter to the group. (Business Day Oct. 26, 2018)

Strategic Environmental Management Plan Report points out lack of mine closure regulation in Namibia

One of the most important shortcomings identified in the 2016 Annual Report prepared by the Geological Survey of Namibia under the Strategic Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) for the Central Namib Uranium Province, is the lack of mine closure regulations in Namibia. Namibia currently does not have legislation governing mine closure, although the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has started drafting a document in 2016.
> Download: Strategic Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) for the Central Namib Uranium Province, 2016 Annual Report , Geological Survey of Namibia, Dec. 2017 (3MB PDF)

Report identifies needs for improvement in Namibia's regulation and oversight of the mining industry

> Namibia - Improving the Environmental and Social Aspects of Mining Sector , Centre for Science and Environment, March 2018

Namibia lifts moratorium on new uranium exploration applications

The Namibian government on Wednesday (Jan. 25) announced the lifting of a 10-year moratorium on new applications for exploration licences on nuclear fuel minerals.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy announced in a statement that it is withdrawing the reservation of any area in Namibia from any prospecting and mining operations in respect of nuclear fuel minerals. The ministry did not give reasons why the moratorium had been lifted. (Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh Jan. 25, 2017)

Malawi, Zambia, and Namibia to harmonise regulations to ease uranium transportation - but, non-proliferation no issue?

> View here

Namibia invites comment on Draft Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy

The Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy invites stakeholders, interested parties and the general public to attend the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy stakeholder's workshop (Windhoek: Dec. 8, 2011 / Swakopmund Dec. 12, 2011) to review the draft and provide comments and inputs.
> View Ministry of Mines and Energy announcement
> Download Draft Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy (492k PDF)

Namibia publishes Radiation Protection and Waste Disposal Regulations

> Download: Ministry of Health and Social Services: Radiation Protection and Waste Disposal Regulations: Atomic Energy and Radiation Protection Act, 2005 (Act No. 5 of 2005) , Government Notice No. 221, in: Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia, 18 November 2011, No. 4835, p. 1-54 (514k PDF - Atomic Energy Board of Namibia)

Namibia plans to raise mining tax by 17 percent

Namibia plans to raise its mining tax by 17 percent to boost revenue, but the hike will not apply to the diamond sector, the ministry of finance said in a statement. The ministry of finance wants the mining tax to be raised to 44 percent from 37.5 percent, according to the statement e-mailed to Reuters on Friday (July 22). (Reuters July 22, 2011)

Namibia not adequately regulating uranium mining, WISE/SOMO report finds

From the conclusions on Namibia from a report prepared by WISE and SOMO:
"Yet whilst [Namibia] has had many years of experience with uranium mining, the country has neither established proper laws that properly regulate uranium mining and radiation, nor has it established strong, well-equipped, and knowledgeable institutions that can and will protect Namibia's environment and people from damage caused by uranium mining.
This leaves a large gap to be filled by the industry. The power imbalance in Namibia, where knowledge as well as financial and human resources are in the hands of companies, has created the unhealthy situation where a company can decide for itself whether it prioritises people and planet, or just profit. [...]
Here, most problematic seems to be the power imbalance. The lack of independent institutions which monitor the mining impacts is meaningful and has high impact. The lack of knowledge, skills, willingness, and financial means within the Namibian government is irresponsible. The necessary tasks of informing the public, carrying out reliable and regular radiation controls, measuring all possible impacts on environment, society, and health; and protecting its citizens are not, or absolutely inadequately, performed.
Proper management of uranium mining operations are no priority for the Namibian politicians and Ministries. This was also expressed by a frustrated employee at the Department of Health: "We try to make politicians aware that more attention needs to be given to safety. But the decision-makers are ignorant."
> Download: 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)

Namibia's government reserves exclusive exploration and mining rights for uranium

Cabinet has declared uranium, copper, gold, zinc and coal as strategic minerals to allow the State-owned Epangelo Mining Company "exclusive exploration and mining" rights, Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali told Parliament yesterday (Apr. 20).
Katali said Cabinet recently approved a submission in this regard "so that the Namibian citizen can fully reap the benefits arising from the rich endowment of our mineral resources".
Mining last year contributed about 15 per cent to the country's gross domestic product and its export earnings were more than half Namibia's total export revenue. Namibia recently retained its position as the fourth biggest uranium producer in the world. Katali said his Ministry's priority this year will be to finalise the Minerals Bill and minerals policy to allow Epangelo "to fully participate in the exploration and mineral development" in the country. (Namibian Apr. 21, 2011)

Namibia's moratorium on the issuing of uranium exploration licences remains in place, High Court rules

The Ministry of Mines and Energy's moratorium on the issuing of uranium exploration licences in Namibia remains in place after a legal challenge to a decision taken in terms of the policy was dismissed in the High Court in Windhoek on Friday (Feb. 11). (Namibian Feb. 15, 2011)

Development of uranium policy

Namibia starts development of "uranium policy" covering entire nuclear fuel cycle (!) - with assistance from Finland (!): The Ministry of Mines has started with the process of getting a legal framework to regulate uranium mining. The ministry yesterday (Nov. 29) held a uranium stakeholders' conference to pave the way for legislation governing the exploration, mining and milling of uranium.
According to Mines Minister Isak Katali, the envisaged policy will cover the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
The minister announced that the Geological Survey of Finland and the Finnish Nuclear and Radiation Authority have sent experts to help draft a uranium policy. (The Namibian Nov. 30, 2010)
[Finland does not have a single uranium mine; currently there is only uranium exploration ongoing in this country. Finland has, however, four operating reactors in two nuclear power plants: Loviisa 1&2, and Olkiluoto 1&2]

Report recommends stricter controls for mining in sensitive areas

Government should prohibit all new mineral activities in existing and proposed protected areas until the regulations of the Environmental Management Act (EMA) regulations are in force, a new report on mining practices in Namibia's protected areas recommends.
The report also proposes The report is the result of a study by the Stanford University Law School in the US in co-operation with the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) of Namibia.
Adverse environmental mining impacts range from permanent landscape alteration to soil contamination and erosion, water contamination, the loss of critical habitats for sensitive plant and animal species, and ultimately, the loss of wildlife.
In addition, as recently proposed projects like the Valencia (uranium) mining exploration operation have shown, the amount of water needed for the investigation, construction, and operation of even a single proposed mining operation may lead to a severe water shortage in the area with the potential to threaten wildlife populations, farming, and eco-tourism operations. (The Namibian Sep. 18, 2009)

> Download report Striking a better balance: An investigation of mining practices in Namibia's protected areas , Stanford LawSchool, Mills International Human Rights and Environmental Law Clinics, Legal Assistance Centre of Namibia, 2009 (1.85MB PDF)

Moratorium on new exploration licenses not to be lifted before 2010

Although Government, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and local experts are working on draft policy ensuring the highest standards in the uranium industry in Namibia, the 2007 moratorium on uranium exploration licences is unlikely to be lifted before next year. (The Namibian Aug. 5, 2009)

Commonwealth to review Namibian regulatory framework for uranium mining

Beginning in September 2007, advisers from the Economic and Legal Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat's Special Advisory Services Division will undertake a review of Namibian law as it relates to uranium mining. Their efforts will focus on reviewing the country's current Minerals Act, and advising the Government of Namibia on proposed amendments to existing laws as well as the need for new provisions aimed at ensuring that uranium mining in the Southern African nation incorporates the highest standards in health, environmental protection, and safety. The goal of both the government and the Secretariat is to create a proper regulatory framework in Namibia that meets the highest standards and will attract further investment in the uranium sector. (Commonwealth News and Information Service Sep. 12, 2007)

After decades of ongoing uranium mining, the Namibian Chamber of Mines plans to develop radiation and environmental standards for uranium mines

The Namibian Chamber of Mines has decided to establish a Uranium Stewardship Committee to safeguard the interest of the uranium industry in the country. Chairperson of the Uranium Stewardship Committee is Michael Leech, who is the Managing Director of Rössing Uranium. The committee is to develop minimum standards for environmental health and environmental management for uranium mines and to assist with a Regional Strategic Environmental Management Plan (SEMP). This is being done with participation of public and private stakeholders and also in conjunction with the Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment (SAIEA), the World Nuclear Association (WNA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). (NAMPA Feb. 29, 2008)

The Chamber of Mines of Namibia has established a committee that will deal with radiation protection issues in the uranium industry. The chamber has also appointed a medical practitioner, Dr Wotan Swiegers, as principal adviser. He will help with the development of minimum standards for occupational health and environmental management for uranium mines. In an interview with New Era, the General Manager of the Chamber of Mines in Namibia, Veston Malango, said: "One challenging area specifically for uranium mining is the absence of adequate legislation to effectively deal with radiation protection, occupational health, and environmental management."
On July 26, 2007, relevant stakeholders are scheduled to hold an inaugural meeting in Swakopmund to set an agenda for the project. The project that started early last month and will run for two years will see the involvement of all relevant stakeholders working on radiation-related issues in the industry. "The Chamber of Mines intends to present the output of this project to the Namibian Government, so that appropriate legislation/regulations can be enacted for the whole uranium industry," said Malango. (New Era July 26, 2007)

Namibia places moratorium on new prospection licenses for uranium

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has stopped accepting requests for uranium prospection licenses. It will soon announce a moratorium in the Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia. (The Namibian Feb. 14, 2007)

Namibia to demand mining companies to pay into decommissioning funds

On April 26, 2006, Mines Minister Erkki Nghimtina said in the National Assembly he would propose an amendment to the Minerals Act this year, which would force international companies holding mining licenses in the country to invest in a fund that will be used to clean up mining areas after the mines become exhausted, as well to take care of people living in those areas. (Namibian April 28, 2006)

Atomic Energy and Radiation Protection Bill tabled in National Assembly of Namibia

On Feb. 16, 2005, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Richard Kwamwi, tabled the Atomic Energy and Radiation Protection Bill in the National Assembly of Namibia. The Bill, expected to be debated on Feb. 22, 2005, provides for the establishment of a Namibian Atomic Energy Board and a National Radiation Protection Authority. (New Era Feb. 17, 2005)


Niger   flag

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

Niger president seeks more value from uranium price

Niger, a major supplier of uranium to the French nuclear sector, wants a better price for its supplies, President Mahamadou Issoufou told state TV. Issoufou, who came to power after March elections that ended just over a year of military rule, said the poor desert state was determined to make the most of its resources. Around a third of Niger's export revenue comes from uranium. France's Areva controls production of uranium from two mines around the northern town of Arlit. Output is around 3,000 tonnes a year, with Niger set to rival Canada as the world's second-largest producer after Kazakhstan when a third mine, Imouraren, comes on line with 5,000 tonnes from 2013-2014. Issoufou, a trained engineer and former local Areva official, said the price of 40,000 CFA francs ($86) per kilo negotiated by the former government for 2008 and 2009 was less than the spot price of uranium on the market at the time. (Reuters July 17, 2011)

Niger accepted as EITI compliant country

On March 1, 2011, the Republic of Niger has been accepted as an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) compliant country. The EITI sets a global standard for companies to publish what they pay and for governments to disclose what they receive.
> View EITI release Mar. 2, 2011
> View EITI: Niger

Niger to review uranium mining contracts

One month after the military coup that stripped president Mamadou Tandja from power, Niger announced that it would review the uranium (and gold) mining contracts of the country, including the ones with Areva. (Les Echos Mar. 18, 2010)


South Africa   flag

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

South Africa's new strategy to deal with abandoned mines is welcome but comes late and needs more teeth

In May 2021 the government published a new national mine closure strategy [...]. Still in draft form, the key focus areas include environmental rehabilitation, planning for "a diverse post-mining economy", closure planning throughout the lifecycle of a mine and a regional approach to mine closures.
The draft strategy aims to manage the sustainable closure of mines regionally to mitigate negative impacts on mines neighbouring and connected to those due for closure as the closure of one mine has an impact on those that are still operating. The strategy also aims to mitigate environmental impacts such as the contamination of water sources, air pollution, radioactivity from uniferous waste and land degradation. [...]
Mariette Liefferink, chief executive of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE), an NGO that has been dealing with the legacy of abandoned mines for years, said there was an urgent need for this new strategy. [...]
In their official comments submitted to the department, the FSE welcomed the draft strategy but Liefferink said before it can be turned into policy it needs to have more teeth. "We would like to see punitive and administrative measures taken against operators, managers and directors of companies if they are non-compliant with the policy that will flow from this strategy," she said.
The strategy should have been finalised and published sooner to avoid certain undesirable consequences, especially in the declining gold mining sector where the closure of gold mines is imminent.
"It [the lack of a proper strategy] has incentivised certain mining companies instead of following a structured closure process. They simply liquidated and no one could be held responsible for the environmental and ecological damage," she said.
In an 18-month data-driven investigation on mine closures across South Africa, #MineAlert revealed in 2016 that very few companies apply to close large-scale mines legally, and that the money set aside for environmental rehabilitation is usually minimal. A real-life case study of the undesirable consequences of unclear laws pertaining to mine closures was the R460-million [US$ 31.1 million] mess left behind by gold mining company Mintails, which was granted provisional liquidation in August 2018.[...] (Oxpeckers July 30, 2021)
> Download: DMRE Draft Mine Closure Strategy 2021 , Government Gazette, May 21, 2021
> Download: FSE comments on Draft Mine Closure Strategy , June 23, 2021
> View: Mine closures: What’s happening in your back yard? , Oxpeckers, Dec. 15, 2016

South African Department of Environmental Affairs to make environmental licences automatically available

Last week, the Department of Environmental Affairs announced that it will now make environmental licences available to the public automatically, without requiring submission of a request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). (Centre for Environmental Rights April 25, 2016)

South Africa's Environment Department considers radiation assessments for Environmental Impact Assessments of uranium mines 'unnecessary'

Instead of a Radiation Assessment, the Environmental Management Programmes (EMP) for the various project areas of the Karoo uranium mine project all contain a statement of the Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism saying that such an assessment is unnecessary:
"I have considered the provisions of the NNRA (attached as Annexure A) and the NEMA EIA Regulations thereto (Attached as Annexure B) and am satisfied that the NNRA and Regulations thereto are administered by experts in the field of nuclear safety, radiation and radiology through and administratively just process. I am further of the view that these issues are better placed within the regulatory process of the NNRA and that consideration of the same issues in an EIA process will result in unnecessary and avoidable duplication. I therefore have decided that, as detailed in the agreement between DEAT and the NNA of 15th June 2006 (Attached as Annexure C), these issues would fall outside the ambit of the EIA process and that the Department would not make a pronouncement on the acceptability of these impacts. Any authorisation granted for Nuclear Installations would accordingly be conditional on the necessary nuclear licence being in place.
Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, DIRECTOR GENERAL, DATE: 30/1/2009"

South Africa not adequately regulating (uranium) mining, WISE/SOMO report finds

From the conclusions on South Africa from a report prepared by WISE and SOMO:
"It is obvious that South Africa is living with very serious impacts of mining, and the mitigation measures that are undertaken are by no means sufficient. Politicians lack knowledge on the environmental and social legacy of mining. Especially radiation issues are not considered with care. Government is failing. Ministries such as the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Health are not capable of managing impacts from mining.
There is no proper protection of the environment and the country is moving quickly towards a situation in which clean drinking water becomes a scarce commodity.
As concerns are serious, it is surprising that South Africa has no specialised institutions which have adequate knowledge on the impacts of (uranium) mining operations and can monitor, educate, and advise on all mining-related health and environmental issues."
> Download: 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)

South Africa ready to supply uranium to India

South Africa today expressed readiness to supply uranium to India after the Nuclear Suppliers Group adjusted its guidelines to enable New Delhi's participation in international nuclear trade. "We have absolutely no difficulty or objections to selling uranium to India ... that we will do without any difficulty," South African President Kgalema Motlanthe told reporters after a summit meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (Economic Times 15 Oct 2008)

South African government may demand first pick of uranium

South Africa may compel local miners to offer uranium first to the state to feed the country's expanding nuclear energy programme, a senior official said. The government announced this month it would ramp up use of nuclear energy as it moves to meet fast-growing demand for power, using the country's large reserves of uranium. "The intervention in the uranium market (is necessary) ... there is no way we can have a situation where we battle for uranium, to get uranium ore, when our country is actually exporting," Tseliso Maqubela, chief director for nuclear energy at the department of minerals and energy, told legislators. (Reuters Aug. 23, 2007)

South Africa releases draft Nuclear Energy Policy and Strategy for public comment

On August 13, 2007, the Department of Minerals and Energy released its draft Nuclear Energy Policy and Strategy for public comment.
"Government shall ensure that the balance between the immediate exploitation of our mineral resources and the securing of a long term supply of these resources always guarantees security of supply. In addition, government shall actively promote investment in uranium exploration and mining, and in very specific instances shall make investments in these industries, as a way of ensuring security of nuclear fuel supply for South Africa."
> Download Nuclear Energy Policy and Strategy for the Republic of South Africa, Draft for Public Comment, July 2007 (231k PDF)

South Africa plans to give local nuclear industry privileged access to domestic uranium resources

The minerals and energy department is planning to declare uranium a "protected mineral resource" to secure supplies for the local nuclear industry. The department has cited as a reason for this the recent strong growth in uranium prices and its intention to use more uranium to produce power. Currently, most uranium in SA is sourced as a by-product of gold mining. (Business Day June 7, 2005)

Draft Radioactive Waste Management Policy And Strategy issued for comment

The Department of Minerals and Energy has published a draft Radioactive Waste Management Policy and Strategy for the Republic of South Africa for public comment. The regulations cover, among others, tailings from the mining and milling of ores that contain uranium and thorium, and their radioactive decay products.

All interested parties are invited to comment in writing on the draft regulations.
The comment period has been extended through 31 December 2003.
> Download media release announcing extension of comment period (PDF, Oct. 16, 2003)

> Download draft regulations (550k PDF)


South Sudan   flag

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

South Sudan parliament passes mining bill: South Sudan's parliament has passed a mining bill which it hopes will open up the largely unexplored territory to investors and diversify its heavily oil-dependent economy, a senior lawmaker said on Friday (Nov. 23).
Officials say firms from China, Australia, the United States, South Africa and other African countries plan to apply for licences in the new country, which seceded from Sudan in 2011. Apart from gold, South Sudan, a country with few paved roads, has also potential deposits of diamond, chromite, copper, uranium, manganese and a belt of iron ore, experts say.
Parliament passed the bill this week after its third reading, but it may take a further three weeks to become law, said Henry Odwar, chairperson for the Committee of Energy, Mining, Commerce and Industry. The joint legislative committee and President Salva Kiir still need to approve the bill but it is not expected to come up against much resistance. (Reuters Nov. 23, 2012)
[Radioactive elements were reported in the oxidized zone of the copper deposit of Hofrat en Nehas area, according to the 1977 Red Book.]


Tanzania   flag

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

Tanzania issues regulations for uranium mining:
> View/Download The Mining (Radioactive Minerals) Regulations, 2018 , Feb. 2, 2018 (TCME)

Report identifies needs for improvement in Tanzania's regulation and oversight of the mining industry:
> Tanzania - Improving the Environmental and Social Aspects of Mining Sector , Centre for Science and Environment, March 2018

Tanzania to amend Atomic Energy Act to cover uranium mining: Uranium mining, set to commence soon in the country, will be taken on board in the proposed amendment of the Atomic Energy Act, it was revealed here yesterday. The amendments are through with the Tanzanian Atomic Energy Commission (Taec) and experts at the technical level. They have been forwarded to the ministry and other stakeholders for additional inputs.
Mr Ngaile told The Citizen yesterday that the amendment of the Atomic Energy Act could see the separation of the regulatory functions and promotional functions of Taec.
The Atomic Energy Act No. 7, which established the Arusha-based commission was enacted in April 2003 to regulate and control the peaceful applications of nuclear and radiation sources. (The Citizen Jan. 29, 2018)
> Download: Atomic Energy Act no. 7 of 2003 (253kB PDF - TAEC)

IAEA mission urges Tanzania to establish independent regulatory body for radiation safety: An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said Tanzania's Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC) faced several challenges in building an independent nuclear regulator, while also noting that the Commission has established a comprehensive education system. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team today concluded a 10-day mission to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in United Republic of Tanzania.
They said in their preliminary findings that Tanzania needs to establish an independent regulatory body with responsibility for controlling all radiation facilities and activities in the country. TAEC urgently needs to bring all unlicensed facilities using radiation under regulatory control, the team said, adding that the responsibility and functions for regulating uranium mining must be clearly delineated between TAEC and the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. (IAEA Oct. 14, 2015)

Report calls for tight regulation of uranium mining in Tanzania: The government was yesterday challenged to draft policies and laws to regulate the highly disastrous uranium mining in the country. The Deputy Chairperson for the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), Mahfoudha Hamid, speaking in Dar es Salaam before launching a book on the impacts of Uranium mining on human health and environment, called for careful and highly regulated exploitation of the resource.
The book which was prepared by Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) in collaboration with institutions of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, with funds from Germany focused on the importance of educating community members on the side effects of uranium mining instead of focusing on benefits only. "Uranium mining without policies or laws to regulate and control such activities is a dangerous thing for the future of the nation," said Ms Hamid. (DailyNews May 29, 2014)
> Download: Uranium Mining, Impact on Health & Environment , April 2014 (1.7MB PDF)

Tanzanian farmers use uranium to preserve crops (?!): Recent reports indicate that local farmers have started using uranium elements to preserve crops against pests and diseases, a move that poses dangers to themselves and the entire public.
As a result, millions of consumers who eat maize, beans and other farm cereals preserved in this way are under serious threats of cancer and other diseases. The Arusha-based Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC) has confirmed the reports and is warning the general public, especially gullible farmers, against the misuse of such dangerous chemicals.
The Director General of TAEC, Prof Idd Mkilaha, said there have been some unscrupulous dealers who import uranium from some neighbouring countries, thus sell the chemicals to farmers while fooling them that uranium dust was the best solution against seed diseases as well as decay, crop attacking pests and generally, insects. Some farmers country-wide have bought uranium dust in large amounts and use the elements to store seeds, grain and legumes in their silos. Prof Mkilaha explained that TAEC has already managed to identify some of the business people who have been selling uranium to farmers in Arusha Region and has helped the police to arrest the culprits.
Nuclear expert at TAEC, Dr Melkizedeck Mwijarubi revealed that once inhaled, uranium dust lodges in lungs and causes serious cases of cancer in both lungs and respiratory tracks and should it be consumed with the crops, the chemicals will destroy the digestive system. According to experts, grain from farmers who coat their produce with uranium may affect even those who do not use the chemicals once they grind them together in the same mill. (Daily News Oct. 31, 2012)
The only neighbouring country with official uranium mining is Malawi, while unofficial artisanal uranium mining might still be ongoing in DR Congo. If the report is correct, then this means that the non-proliferation measures taken in the origin country are inefficient.
> See also: Malawi, Zambia, and Namibia to harmonise regulations to ease uranium transportation - but, non-proliferation no issue?

A Team of experts has been formed to investigate rumours that some farmers from Arusha and Manyara regions are using uranium dust as pesticides to preserve agricultural produce. "The systematic random sampling of foodstuffs from street vendors and retail traders of cereal and vegetable products, shops, markets and stores were screened to determine if they are radioactively contaminated or not," TAEC director general Prof Iddi Mkilaha said. The team has already completed the exercise in Arusha Region, he said adding that it is now proceeding to Kilimanjaro and Manyara regions. "Preliminary findings have shown with certainty that foodstuffs from Arusha Region are not preserved with uranium dust," Prof Mkilaha said, appealing to the general public to be patient while investigation continues in the other two regions. A detailed report will be issued by the Commission after it completes the exercise this week, he promised. (The Guardian Nov. 22, 2012)

Lack of regulatory framework for uranium industry criticized: Lack of competent personnel and an effective legal framework have been cited as the missing link in the exploitation and development of uranium deposits that the government wants to venture in. An environmental Lawyer and Director of the Environment Centre, Dr Rugemeleza Nshala said during a Policy Forum debate in Dar es Salaam that the country lacks a robust legal and institutional regime to oversee the uranium mining industry along the value chain as is the case with exploration, extraction, transportation, beneficiation and marketing. "Uranium mining institutions are almost non-existent. The current institutions do not have the requisite human, technological and financial means to oversee uranium operations in Tanzania," he said. (Daily News Sep. 29, 2012)

Tanzania passes law on uranium mining: Tanzania has inched closer to starting uranium mining after putting in place key legislations to control the business. The move will now allow the Canadian based uranium firm, Uranium One Inc to start uranium production at Mkuju River project before the end of the year. (The EastAfrican Mar. 3, 2012)

Parliamentary Committee demands policy on uranium mining: The Parliamentary Committee for Energy and Minerals has directed that no activity should be carried on mining of uranium until a policy and legislation on extraction of the metal are in place. This will go a long way in ensuring the extraction of the mineral is done in the safest manner and benefit the country. The Committee's Acting Chairman, Mr Charles Mwijage (Muleba North-CCM), told journalists on Tuesday (Jan. 24) that the move was aimed at ensuring the country does not repeat mistakes it made in extraction and production of natural gas. (Daily News Jan. 25, 2012)

U.S. law firm sends environmental expert to Tanzania to help set up uranium mining regulations: John Englert, a partner at the Downtown law firm K&L Gates who specializes in environmental issues, spent more than a week in the African nation of Tanzania last month providing free legal advice to government officials on environmental issues related to mining its vast uranium resources.
"We had a substantial number of participants from government who weren't lawyers," he said. "They had little understanding of uranium and why it should be regulated differently than gold." "When you mine uranium and pull the uranium from the ground, what is left remains radioactive and must be handled a certain way to avoid exposure to radiation and the spread of contamination," Mr. Englert said. Because of uranium's slow decay rate, "This must be done for thousands of years. There are long-term implications to this type of mining." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 7, 2011)


Uganda   flag

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

Uganda forms Atomic Energy Council to regulate future uranium industry

The Atomic Energy Council to regulate and ensure the safety of Ugandans when the country starts mining uranium has been launched in Kampala. (New Vision July 27, 2009)


Zambia   flag

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

Zambia starts review of uranium mining regulations

Authorities in Zambia have started reviewing regulations in the mining sector to take consideration of the discovery of uranium and other radioactive minerals, state-media reported on Tuesday (May 9). The Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development said it has commenced the process of reviewing the regulations governing the mining of uranium. Some mining firms have announced plans to start uranium mining while others extract it as a by-product of copper ore. The ministry was also working on a policy on the management, handling, storage, application and disposal of uranium. (Xinhua May 10, 2017)

Malawi, Zambia, and Namibia to harmonise regulations to ease uranium transportation - but, non-proliferation no issue?

> View here

Finland to assist Zambia in review of uranium mining regulations

Zambia and Finland on April 4 launched two co-operation projects aimed at reviewing uranium regulations and developing data management at the Geological Survey Department in Zambia. The two projects are evaluation of current regulations (support for developing sustainable policy) for uranium and other radioactive minerals in Zambia, and development of a modern geo-information infrastructure for Zambia's Geological Survey Department. Under the agreement, Finland will provide about 593,000 euros towards the implementation of the projects. Speaking at the launch, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Maxwell Mwale said the projects will help Zambia evaluate, update and review regulations regarding the safety of mining uranium. (Zambia Daily Mail April 4, 2011)
[Finland does not have a single uranium mine; currently there is only uranium exploration ongoing in this country. Finland has, however, four operating reactors in two nuclear power plants: Loviisa 1&2, and Olkiluoto 1&2]

Zambia has established regulations for uranium mining

Zambia has established necessary regulations needed for uranium mining and is ready to issue licenses to facilitate the mining of the highly radio active product amid different perceptions about the metal. Mr Maxwell Mwale mines minister of Zambia said that licenses for prospective investors in uranium mining would be issued soon as the government with relevant authorities has devised laws that will guide the mining of the metal in the country.
According to the Zambian Government, various regulatory laws and guidelines have been set up in consultation with the world atomic agency to ensure the safety of the people and the environment. (SteelGuru Nov. 17, 2010)

Zambia has developed safeguarding guidelines for uranium

Mines and Minerals Development Minister Maxwell Mwale said the Government had developed guidelines to stop the sale of uranium to institutions that might use it for the production of dangerous weapons. The guidelines were produced with supervision from the International Atomic Energy Agency that would be involved in all activities leading to the final stage, which would be exportation. The guidelines cover monitoring activities during exploration, mining, milling, storage, transportation, export, marketing, safety, health and environmental protection standards. (Times of Zambia July 28, 2010)

Zambia enacts uranium mining law

Zambia has enacted a law for mining, storage and export of uranium which bars the diversion of the mineral for use in making nuclear weapons or devices, mines minister Kalombo Mwansa said.
The law, which covers the prospecting, mining and milling of uranium ores and other radioactive minerals ores, gives all powers in the mines minister to issue licences for mining and exports of uranium as a safeguard to ensure the mineral is exported to the right consumers. It also makes it mandatory for mining companies and exporters of uranium to provide documentation on the source of uranium concentrate or radioactive materials and to prove the authenticity of importers under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidelines. Foreign firms seeking to export uranium would have to apply for export licences from the Radiation Protection Authority under the ministry of health to ensure their operations did not pose environmental and health hazards to the country.
The legislation also imposes strict management plans for natural water and that coming from mining activities and other waste products of mining firms to avert major damage to the environment and health of miners and others. Mining firms will be required to initiate radiation protection management plans, waste management plans and quantitative radiological hazard and safety assessments plans before obtaining a mining licence, the law states. (Reuters Oct. 6, 2008)

Zambia to approve uranium mining law by year-end 2007

Zambia plans to pass a new uranium law in December 2007 to allow foreign firms to start mining uranium on a large scale for use as a source of energy to drive its economy and for exports, a minister said. Kalombo Mwansa, the minister of mines and minerals development, said the southern African country had drawn up guidelines on mining and exports of uranium in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The law would be approved before the end of December after consultations with the United Nations agency, to enable foreign firms that have been exploring for uranium to apply for mining licences in areas where uranium has been discovered, he said. "We have already drawn guidelines for mining uranium which we handed to the ministry of justice. The justice minister is currently consulting the UN on the mining, storage and transportation of uranium," Mwansa told Reuters in an interview. (Reuters Dec. 12, 2007)

Zambia to develop policy prior to issuing uranium mining licenses

> View here

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