Muluzi says govt inspecting Paladin mine as Malawi Police block protesters

Protesters at Kayelekera.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Protesters at Kayelekera.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Chief explaining why they need to enter.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Chief explaining why they need to enter.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

A discussion at the mine.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

A discussion at the mine.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Senior Chief Karonga going to meet paladin boss.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Senior Chief Karonga going to meet paladin boss.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Out of bounds: Police block irate citizens from storming the mine.-Photo by Tiwone Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Out of bounds: Police block irate citizens from storming the mine.-Photo by Tiwone Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Malawi’s Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Atupele Muluzi, has said government through his ministry has deployed inspectors to Kayelekera uranium mine in northern district of Karonga after a spill at Paladin Energy’s project.

Paladin confirmed it had suffered “minor” storm damage on Monday evening after a 20-minute, high-intensity storm saw 25mm of rain fall on the site.

The spill comes just days after Paladin rejected reports that it was discharging toxic waste from the mine into the local river.

Muluzi said government inspectors will assess the situation.

“I am in Karonga where following governments inspectors preliminary findings I will hold a Town Hall Meeting will the local community to brief them of the situation this afternoon,” Muluzi told Nyasa Times on Thursday.

Muluzi is accompanied by experts within the ministry on environmental affairs and officials from the ministry of water.

“On Friday, I will be holding a press briefing communicating government’s official position on the matter, what transpired, and what action has been taken and will be taken,” he added.

On Wednesday tension erupted at Kayelekera uranium site as armed police stopped irate residents of the district who wanted to enter the premises.

Led by a coalition of civil society organizations, religious readers, councillors and chiefs, the group stormed the mine after Paladin confirmed the leakage, urging that the company is deliberately releasing the toxic waste into the local river system of sere which drains its water to Lake Malawi.

According to chairperson of Natural Resource Justice Rink Network a group of 33 Non-Governmental Organizations Kosam Munthali said Paladin is “fooling” Malawians.

“This is a clear indication on why we are  denied to verify the status of the tailing dams ourselves because they know that their toxic waste products have been draining into our river since the beginning of fish death in our rivers and Lake Malawi as the real cause of the matter is yet to be established,” said Munthali.

District Commissioner Rosemary Moyo said has no authority to let people in the district visit Paladin site the development which made the community together with CSOs to go to Kayelekera for a  visit themselves.

However, armed police blocked the group.

“The laws of Malawi does not allow anyone to enter the premises of mining sectors without government permission, so the bosses here wants those documents if you don’t have them no enter,” said Almakio Daka the Station Officer of police in the district.

Paladin official concurred with Daka saying “only government officials are allowed to enter into our premises.”

The miner’s managing director John Borshoff said : “The resultant surge of storm water caused the liner in the plant run-off tank to rupture, releasing up to 500 cubic metres of material to the bunded areas of the site.”

He said following discovery of the damaged tank, the company “immediately commenced protection and remediation procedures and the site remains secure;”

The company also claimed that a sampling program to analyse water from within the local stream system was also initiated to confirm no contamination occurred.

Paladin has been accused of  discharging waste into the local river system.  The miner rejected the accusations.

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Mascahbana
Guest

As of today 12/01/2015
Karonga Market
Chambo 5 @MK1000
Fish is cheap people still picking and selling people biuing and eaton

freedom
Guest

Chief Kalonga and wanyachutsa mose
if you have issues go to court and present your corners there.you have no right to walking around the private property of kayerekera.these are investors and they need to be respected and protected,use the collect channels which would later become a tool for your demands.
yes this is a government for the people and by the people,but doesn’t warrant over stepping the ruling laws of Malawi accordingly.respect what the agreed contracts stipulates,mind you we have alot of investors interested to come and kayerekera is one of there reference so trade carefully.

Chimwemwe
Guest

does anyone have any evidence?
Atupele went to the mine, did he say they were discharging water?
The government said they took samples, where are the results?
all we here are accusations but no evidence, maybe the accusers are hoping for silver to make them quiet.

M'doko
Guest

Ithink uraniun is doing nothing to national economy and bringing to us problems after promblem , and therefore they should just close and clean the site before leaving the site

mbangombe
Guest

We have atleast Bunda, Polytechnic, Chancellor College, Mzuni to help the nation on issues of environment posed by uraniun mining. Why don’t we institute a team of experts from the colleges to conduct a thorough study on effects of this mining. We cannot as malawians be debating and wasting time and resources on mere rumours. Please professionals help us.

concerned citizen
Guest

You don’t understand! Are you that dull!? Malawians umbuli…! It’s happening as you seat pwii writing your rubbish.

Ciss
Guest

t look simple bt will affect thousand of pple in malawi from north to south as well,bt what z the benefit of this wine to malawi,bt get to knw this uranium is much expensive

jobless corner
Guest
Well im in Karonga and it is rumoured with some locals that fishes are dying at dying at the lake and some rivers for unknown reasons.Its time our scientists did some test with these dying fish and took some sample from water as to what is causing all this than relying to some bought politicians like Atupele who put money first than the lives of the ordinary people.Do you think these a Australians can easily accept about the leakage while they r making a killing out of it?.The livelihoods of the locals depends on the rivers and the lake while… Read more »
Tozer.Tsono
Guest
Atupele admits that there is no government oversight for such a high value project which has the potential to damage the health of the people and the land for years to come. Why wasn’t the size of the drain considered in the planning phase? In Australia, Paladin would not have allowed the drainage system to fail. The Company would pay heavily for such imbecilic lapses in planning and management. Blaming it on the rain is tantamount to telling the Malawi government that she is a fool and therefore deserving a fools excuse. They have to protect the natural habitat at… Read more »
concerned citizen
Guest

That’s a very good analysis and the only way to go. We need external experts with full knowledge and experience in uranium issues and not these Vendors masquerading as political leaders.They know nothing apart from pocketing blood money in form of bribes period!

Robert bob phiri
Guest

That’s why i didn’t waist my vote to the greedy politicians,GOD is keeping my ballot paper 4 the man of GOD.(ABUSA in 2019 if GOD will say yes, nobody will say no)We’re tired of this monopolizers.

Matako
Guest

This is what happens when you have leaders that are so corrupt that they do not take citizens health into consideration. This mine is not beneficial to Malawians as the loyalties are remitted to Munthalika”s account outside the country. Malawians need to wake up These are our resources and being sold at whole sale prices to greedy colonialists who are greasing the palms of those in office. There need be an immediate environmental assessment to determine exactly what happened.

concerned citizen
Guest

We need to rise and demand our economic rights and transparence by the so called politicians. We can’t tolerate national wealth to be channelled to the handful greedy people whose office is entrusted to do the needful for the Malawians interest.

wpDiscuz

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