An exchange of damning sentiments has occurred between two local groups in the northern region town of Karonga over alleged insecurity of people living around the Kayerekela Uranium Mine, with one group arguing that a report by French nuclear physicist Bruno Chareyron last week was not precise.
Tutulane Palikimo Business Association (TPBA) said that much as Chareyron revealed that people around Kayerekela Mine were at “high risk of contracting radioactive related diseases within the shortest period,” he was not clear on how big the problem was and did not provide strategies on how government could combat the situation.
“The report was very much unclear,” said Jalako Mwenifumbo, TPBA chairperson. “It did not provide strategies on what ought to be done to avert the situation at Kayerekela which everyone knows is not fine.”
Chareyron had said during a briefing at the Karonga district council chamber over a week ago that the radiation emissions at the mine, owned by Australia’s Paladin Africa Limited (PAL), were abnormal.
He was in the country to collect water samples around the Kayerekela mine river system which local CSOs allege is contaminated following a spillage late last year.
Mwenifumbo further blamed the Natural Justice Network Link (NRJL), a coalition of 33 non-governmental organizations that has for the past two years been fighting Paladin, of not taking the issue seriously.
“They [NRJL) are treating the issue with a grain of salt,” said Mwenifumbo who was non-committal to say for certain whether he there was rat smell in NRJL dealings.
But Kossam Munthali, NRJL chairperson, brushed off TPBA saying that they were a disgruntled grouping that was making noise in order to gain business favours from Paladin.
Nyasa Times learnt that, for example, TPBA supplies vegetables and fish to the mine for meals.
“The hiring of the French physicist was a step ahead,” he told local press. “He gave us a report and being a highly acclaimed nuclear physicist, no one expects flaws in it. We are sure government is putting in necessary measures to combat the situation.”
He added: “Even the Minister of Energy and Mines [Atupele Muluzi] expressed concern when he visited the mine early this year.”
This is not the first time that local groups have battled with Paladin. In 2012 the groups almost staged protests against the miner for failure to fulfill social corporate responsibilities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :