Uranium miner Paladin Energy has reported a uranium oxide (U3O8) spillage near its Kayelekera mine, in Malawi’s northern border district Karonga.
The company said 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.
The accident site and the surrounding area were subjected to a radiological check to ensure that it was thoroughly cleaned, while the container has been taken back to the product packaging compound at Kayelekera and was awaiting repacking into a new container.
“This is the first incident involving a uranium oxide container to occur in 92 product shipments transported from Kayelekera mine to the Port of Walvis Bay,” the company said in a statement.
The World Nuclear Association says that uranium oxide concentrate is “mildly radioactive”.
Earlier this month, Paladin suspended production at the Kayelekera mine, saying the operation was a severe drain on the company’s finances in the sustained low uranium-price environment.
As a result of shuttering Kayelekera, the company revised downwards its full-year output guidance to between 7.8-million and 8-million pounds of U3O8, from its previous guidance of 8.3-million to 8.7-million pounds.