Paladin, Malawi govt given 14 day ultimatum to renegotiate uranium deal

Malawi’s opposition People’s Transformation Party (Petra) has added its voice to the concerns raised by African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) that the government of Malawi had made a bad choice of project given the absence of transparency and accountability in the deal.

PETRA president Kamuzu Chibambo told reporters in Blantyre on Monday that his party has given Paladin and President Joyce Banda’s administration 14 days to explain why the uranium mining deal can’t be renegotiated for the benefit of Malawians.

Chibambo, a lawyer by profession, trashed claims Paladin, a company that is mining uranium at Kayelekera Mine in Karonga district, is making losses.

He said if the Australian uranium mine was making losses.

Kamuzu Chibambo: Malawi government told to renegotiate Paladin uranium deal

“We demand the shareholders therefore to disclose how much our uranium is fetching when it is finally sold to the ultimate buyer in Australia or Switzerland,” said Chibambo, adding “ That will clearly prove the veracity of the claims continue to be made locally.”

He was speaking during the launch of the 3rd Liberation Movement for Malawi in Blantyre,

He demanded that government should renegotiate for at least a 40 percent stake and selling rights in the next 14 days.

“Within the same days, we want to know from Paladin and government as to which health facility our brothers and sisters are being taken for treatment whenever they are exposed to radiation which we know is happening? Is the treatment adequate? he said.

He also asked the government to tell measures it has put in place to avoid pollution seeping into Lake Malawi.

Recently, AFRODAD Executive Director Collins Magalasi told journalists in the capital Lilongwe that Malawi government should renegotiate for a better deal with the Paladin Company.

“Malawi government needs to look back at the contract and renegotiate for a better deal which can benefit the nation including the communities where the project takes place,” Magalasi said.

He  urged lawmakers  and civil society organisations (CSOs) to take up the issue and bring pressure to bear on the government to return to the negotiating table.

A representative of the CSOs Moses Mkandawire said:“We would like Paladin to declare all what it has sold. The government should also declare all what it has received from the uranium project since it started.”

He said they had also performed poorly in the area of corporate social responsibility.

As CSOs, he said, another deal should be made possible for the benefit of Malawians who are the real owners of the resources.

Paladin Energy international affairs GM Greg Walker is on record saying  it will be impossible to renegotiate the deal because the agreement includes a ten-year stability period “to provide comfort for project lenders and share- holders”, given Malawi’s lack of a record as the host nation of a major resource investment.

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