Paladin said on Wednesday that it has suffered a work place fatality at its Kayelekera Mine in the northern Malawi’s Karonga district.
The company said in a news release seen by Nyasa Times that a Malawian employee, Khwima Phiri, died on the morning of July 30, 2013, after being struck in the chest by a light vehicle wheel he was inflating at the time.
“Relevant authorities were notified and the Malawian Police and the company have investigated the incident, with the findings and outcomes pending,” said a statement signed by Paladin Energy Ltd Managing Director, John Borshoff.
The operator of Malawi’s largest mine, according to the statement, had operated for 489 days without a Lost Time Injury (employee’s death while on duty).
The tragic incident has cast a shadow over the company which is already facing mounting criticism following reports the country was losing out from the favourable tax regime agreed with the company by the former administration of late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Last week, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, also reiterated that Malawi was losing out due to tax incentives given to Paladin.
But Rick Crabb, Chairman of Paladin Energy Limited, rebuffed de Schutter’s claims and also restated that their company was making losses at Kayelekera.
As a result of tax incentives, one estimate suggests that Malawi may lose between US$ 205 million and US$ 281 million over the 13 years of the project.
But the current government of Joyce Banda has indicated it has started negotiations with the company to have the agreement reviewed.