Government Spokesperson, Brown Mpinganjira says Paladin Africa Limited which was given a license to mine Uranium at Kayerekera in Karonga was not in the wrong to halt production at the plant.
Mpinganjira made the remarks Saturday in Blantyre following an announcement from Paladin Africa to temporarily close the mine, a move likely to negatively affect lives of local people that were employed by the company.
He said being a business entity when they started making losses, the company had to weigh options and come up with a decision which as government they had received with regret.
“We wish it was possible for Paladin Africa to continue with their operations at Kayerekera because you know the suspension will have negative effects mostly for those that were earning a living from Kayerekera, even government tax receipts and loyalties will be affected too.
“We regret that Kayerekera has been suspended but we understand the reasons behind. It’s true the prices of uranium have gone down considerably unlike at the time paladin started mining in the country,” he observed.
The government’s spokesperson said at the time Paladin was issued with a license in 2009, Uranium was selling at US$60 per pound but this has gone down to US$34 per pound.
He said; “We must also understand that this has been made worse with the accident of the nuclear reactor plant in Japan in 2011 whose result has been a sharp decline in demand of uranium on the market.”
Mpinganjira, however, said news that the Kayerekera mine will be put on care and maintenance was good as it meant production would resume as soon as prices pick up.
He also revealed that the company had promised to take care of the retrenched workforce of about 300 people mostly coming from the administration and finance departments and that they would also continue with their corporate social responsibility, citing a water project which President Joyce Banda will commission next week.
Paladin Africa were given a 15 year contract to mine Uranium at Kayerekera in 2009.
Explorations are also being carried out through an Airborne Geophysical Survey to determine the presence of rare earth minerals in the country which could boost the country’s economy.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :