The Malawi Government has bowed down to pressure from concerned Malawians and come out publicly that it will renegotiate the controversial Kayerekela Uranium Mine deal and remove the confidentiality clause in contract.
Government has also confessed that the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration had secret deals with the Australian-based uranium miner, Paladin, regarding the development of mining project.
Malawi’s Minister of Mines, John Bande, said in Lilongwe government wants to remove in the deal the suspicious agreements signed between Paladin Resources Limited and the DPP led administration of late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
“The previous government had put a confidentiality clause in the deal and we are putting an idea where we can remove the confidentiality clause so that we can discuss this deal in the public,” Bande said last week.
He said the Joyce Banda administration will remove all suspicions that are in the deal to bring peace among the concerned Malawians.
One of the concerned Malawians who has been forceful on the alleged dishonest deal is Kamuzu Chibambo, President of People’s Transformation Party (PETRA).
Chibambo has on several occasions called on government to renegotiate the agreement and also threatened to mobilise Malawians to protest if it does not do so, arguing the deal was not benefiting poor Malawians.
The PETRA president, among others, said under the current agreement government granted exclusive rights to Paladin to borrow against “all ore and mineral-bearing materials, sand, slimes, tailings and residues of whatsoever nature located on and under the tenement.
Kayelekera, whose licence covers an area of 55.5 km2 and was granted for a period of 15 years, renewable for further ten-year period, is Malawi’s largest mine and according to the deal, the country collects only $100 million yearly in taxes.
Before its establishment, the mining industry was only contributing less than three percent to the country’s GDP but now it has risen to 10 percent.
The Banda administration has earmarked mining sector as one of the potential source of revenue to complement and eventually replace over reliance on agriculture, currently facing daunting challenges due to climate change.
“It is government’s conviction that if the country’s mineral resources are fully exploited, the contribution of mining will increase to at least 20 percent within the next 10 years,” Bande said.
Last week, Malawi launched a Mines and Minerals Policy, which points at inadequate and outdated legal provisions and lack of harmonisation of legislations that affect mining activities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :