MAC: Mines and Communities

Malawi: Paladin's uranium tailings dam flooded

Published by MAC on 2016-04-28
Source: Nyasa Times, All Africa (2016-04-19)

There have been claims that contamined tailings water has escaped from Paladin's Kayerekela uranium mine in Malawi after heavy rains.

The company has denied this, noting that they had anticipated such a situation.

Previous article on MAC: Paladin called on to close and rehabilitate Malawi uranium mine

Kayerekela uranium tailings dam flooded: Water contamination fears high

Tiwonge Kumwenda

Nyasa Times

15 April 2016

The continuing heavy rains in Karonga have resulted in the flooding of Paladin’s Kayerekela Uranium Mine tailing dams, a development that has sent shivers of apprehension among water users in the district.

The dams empty into the Sere River which feeds into the Rukuru River and the Lake Malawi.

Ironically, the people of Karonga currently drink from the Lake through the Garnet Halliday Water Project which Paladin Africa Limited (PAL) instituted a couple of years back to curb water hurdles.

While PAL management is mum on the issue, some employees of the mine have cautioned the communities around “to stop drinking water Rivers Sere and Rukuru and Lake Malawi.”

At an interface meeting organised by Church and Society of the Synod of Livingstonia chairperson of the Karonga community which consists 9 villages, Chilirani Gondwe, said some resident were planning on leaving their villages.

“There is panic due to reports that we’re drinking uranium contaminated water,” said Gondwe.

According to Gondwe, it is impossible for them to confirm the development considering strict entry arrangements.

In remarks, the Project Coordinator for Advocacy Campaign for Inclusive Extractive Industry in Malawi under the Church and Society in the Synod of Livingstonia Paul Mvula asked the office of the District Commissioner (DC) to establish an investigation on the matter since it has power to inspect the mine.

“As an organization, we know that neither the community nor us have the right to inspect the Kayerekela Uranium Mine Site apart from the office of the District Commissioner, therefore we are appealing to the DC to come up with a committee to carry out an investigation before the community decide badly,” pleaded Mvula.

He further said “concerned authorities should not underrate this issue by regarding it as hearsays.”

Karonga DC Rosemary Moyo assured the District Civil Protection Committee during an emergency meeting on Wednesday that she will send some people to the site to carry out an investigation.

“I have also heard these rumors but as an office we are yet to know the truth. However, I will send a team to investigate the matter, and I am calling on the community to be calm,” said Moyo.

Paladin Africa Limited is yet to respond to the development as its officials’ phones were out of reach.


Paladin Denies Water Discharge At Kayerekera Mine

http://allafrica.com/stories/201604190427.html

19 April 2016

Paladin Energy Limited has downplayed a Nyasa Times report that the floods terror in Karonga have resulted in the flooding of Kayerekela Uranium Mine tailing dams, a development that has sent shivers of apprehension among water users in the district.

Nyasa Times correspondent in Karonga reported last week that the uranium stakeout dams at Kayelekera were flooding and were releasing toxic materials into the environment.

The flooding forced out contaminated water to Sere River, a tributary of Rukuru River that runs down to Lake Malawi.

However, Paladin Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Molyneux described the reports as "untrue" arguing that despite the heavy rains in the district the dams cannot flood.

In a letter addressed to Paladin Limited stakeholders and also made available to Nyasa Times, Molyneux argued that the designers of the dams anticipated such situations and took measures to prevent disaster.

"The Company assures stakeholders that no tailings water has been released into the environment at Kayelekera Mine.

"Water inventory in the Kayelekera Mine tailings storage facility increased due to the heavy rainfall events. However, the freeboard levels remain within the approved operating design criteria and this facility continues to be actively monitored and managed," reads part of the statement by Paladin.

Meanwhile the Advocacy Campaign for Inclusive Extractive Industry in Malawi under the Church and Society in the Synod of Livingstonia has asked the office of Karonga District Commissioner (DC) to investigate on the flooding of the dams.

Karonga DC Rosemary Moyo assured the District Civil Protection Committee during an emergency meeting on Wednesday that she will send some people to the site to carry out an investigation.

 

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