MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Fan NGOs blast Paladin Resources director and affirm ongoing opposition to poor uranium mining pract

Published by MAC on 2007-07-03


Malawian NGOs blast Paladin Resources director and affirm ongoing opposition to poor uranium mining practices

Mineral Policy Institute Media Alert

3rd July 2007

Malawian NGOs determined to continue efforts to prevent poor practices of Aussie uranium miner Paladin Resources

Malawian civil society has issued a statement today to communicate their determination that the project will meet sustained opposition until it responds to a range of long standing concerns over its impacts and benefits to the people of Malawi .

Paladin Resources has come under sustained heat from a coalition of NGOs in Malawi who have brought a court case to halt the company’s proposed Kayelekera mining operation until it addresses alleged unconstitutionality and breaches of environment laws.

The organisations stated in response to claims by Managing director of Paladin John Borshoff: “We totally disagree with Paladin as reportedly stated that the development work at Kayelekera will continue even without addressing the concerns that have been raised by the civil society in Malawi . The Civic Society Organizations believe such statements will deprive the initiatives of the honorable representatives of a cordial and peaceful resolution to the court case.”

"The Malawian legal system offers significant constitutional and democratic protection from the untransparent practices and poor standards proposed by Paladin Resources. Organisations in Malawi are determined to utilise the constitutional protections to protect the public interest from a range of deficiencies in the current approach." stated Techa Beaumont of the Mineral Policy Institute

The company’s first project in Namibia has been underperforming and Paladin announced that it has failures in its heap leach facility in shareholder disclosure earlier this month. The full extent of problems in Namibia are not known.

For more information in Australia contact +61 428970434, in Malawi contact Undule on 265 09664176


Civil Society Organisations Concerns on the Statement by Mr. John Borshoff, Managing Director Paladin Resources Australia

Joint Press Statement issued

3rd July 2007

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation- (CHRR) Citizen for Justice - (CFJ) Foundation for Community Services - (FOCUS) Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace – (CCJP, Mzuzu) Church and Society – Livingstonia Synod Uraha Foundation- (UF)

Following serious concerns arising from the comments and reported in FORBES ONLINE / MiningNews.net and attributed to Mr. John Borshoff the Managing Director of Paladin Resources, Australia , the parent company of Paladin Africa Limited we the undersigned wish to state:

Paladin Resources should take note that the Civil Society Organisations, at the request of the Members of Parliament for all the constituencies in Karonga District had in good faith agreed to engage with Paladin and the Government, to reach a just and equitable resolution whilst deferring the legal proceedings.

The paramount concern which the Civil Society Organisations wish Paladin to address is to fully ensure that the health, safety and welfare concerns arising from the mining of uranium which is a highly radio active mineral are fully addressed in the interest of the people of Karonga and Chitipa Districts and Malawi as a whole.

Additionally the Civil Society Organisations realising that the uranium ore deposits at Kayelekera which Paladin proposes to exploit represent a value of no less then United states Dollars 35 billion and are also concerned to ensure that the people of Karonga and Chitipa District and Malawi as a whole receive equitable benefit in terms of financial returns and development from the Kayeleraka project.

The Civil Society Organisations would like to reiterate that we are not against the development by Paladin or any other bonafide investor of a mine at Kayelekera, which is what Paladin claims. We do however insist that the health, safety and welfare of the people of Karonga and Chitipa District and Malawi as a whole and of our country's environment should not be set aside to facilitate the development of Kayelekera by taking short cuts. We insist that Paladin or any other investor should fully address our concerns on health, safety and welfare and that Paladin ensures that Malawi receives an equitable return for its mineral wealth.

In this regard we note that the issues covered by the Developmental Plan (Agreement) and the agreements on Fiscal are secret and have not been disclosed by the signatories to Malawians. This is totally incompatible with the transparency and accountability which should prevail in the democratic era when the government in office proclaims its commitment to zero tolerance on corruption and causes one to see shadows of corruption in the handing of the secret agreements and the activities of Paladin.

We therefore wish to state and for Paladin to know quite categorically that in addition to pursuing the matter in Court, the Civic Society Organisations now intend to address our concerns to the financial institutions who are funding Paladin's project at Kayelekera and also to the institutional shareholders holding equity in Paladin Resources Australia. We shall also address our concerns to sister Organisations in Australia and Namibia . Paladin Resources should have been more responsive to the concerns of the Civil Society as a publicly trading company on the Australian, Canadian and German Stock Exchange.

We totally disagree with Paladin as reportedly stated that the development work at Kayelekera will continue even without addressing the concerns that have been raised by the civil society in Malawi . The Civic Society Organizations believe such statements will deprive the initiatives of the honorable representatives of a cordial and peaceful resolution to the court case.

We firmly believe that Mr. John Borshoff by making the remarks reported by FORBES ONLINE and or Miningnews.Net will serve to further delay the development of the Kayeleraka project as it does not reflect Paladin's commitment to a resolution be addressing our concerns on the health and safety issues and to ensure that Malawi receives an equitable return for its mineral wealth.

Lastly we have no regrets that such remarks by John Borshoff will only bring facets on the peaceful process of round table discussions to resolve issues outside court which is of more benefits to Paladin than to the Malawian people.

Endorsed by:
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation- (CHRR) Citizen for Justice - (CFJ) Foundation for Community Services - (FOCUS) Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace – (CCJP, Mzuzu) Church and Society – Livingstonia Synod Uraha Foundation- (UF)

Lilongwe - Malawi

Released on 3rd July, 2007


Background on Recent Developments at the Kyalakera Uranium Mine

Religious leaders met to share information and concerns over uranium developments: Malawian religions leaders held a meeting on uranium mining in the first week of June to discuss concerns over the Kayelekera Uranium mine. The meeting included representatives from the Catholic Church, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), the Moslem Community, the Anglican, and Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The meeting expressed concern over the community engagement approach of the company for excluded those with concerns over uranium mining, and promoting the potential benefits of uranium mining without any information on the risks and potential impacts

MAJOR CONCERNS OVER THE DEVELOPMENT:

Criticisms of the ongoing operations outlined by the Catholic Church and other Malawian community and environmental organisations have included the following issues of concern:
• Inadequacy of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Studies conducted by the company. The oversights and inadequacies are outlined in comments by Dr Mudd and Dr Smith on the Kayelekera EIS statement
• Flaws in community consultation: Community members have not had any awareness on the potential risks and impacts associated with mining, having only been presented with the potential benefits of a mining operation. The consultations excluded impacted groups including people from the neighbouring district of Chitipa from consultations considering the deposits stretch into the district and that effects from the mining will spread and affect the people in the district as well
• Government deferring its role in safeguarding community interests to the company: Government of Malawi is required to undertaken consultations on the environmental impact statement rather than the company to ensure independence and checks and balances in the process of approval and community input. Instead these were undertaken by the developer, Paladin Resources.
• Destruction of cultural and historic sites: There has been a lack of consideration of cultural and historic sites, including destruction of local shrines with no notification or consultation with their custodians for mine related infrastructure
• Increased social disorder: increased conflict and divisions amongst local communities have resulted from the mining proposal.
• Unfair compensation for those forcibly relocated: Inadequate compensation 32 families have been displaced and relocated. All the 32 families have only been compensated approximately Mk400, 000.00 and equivalent of US$2857 i.e. each getting US$89. This is against a background that people have left behind fertile gardens and perennial fruits like mangoes
• Undue interference with makeup of community based organisations: The credibility and independence of local community organisation KANRED (Karonga Natural Resources Development Committee) that was formed following the mining operation has been questioned by other civil society in Malawi . Organisations concerned about the impacts of the uranium mining proposal believe it to be a rubber stamp for the company, as the composition of the committee excluded critical parties present at an initial community gathering, ignored key recommendation from this initial gathering and sidelined people from the neighbouring district of Chitipa.

Additional Documentation from Malawian Organisations Outlining their concerns regarding the Paladin Kayelekera Uranium Mine:

These are primary documents that are provided for documentation purposes by the Mineral Policy Institute

1. Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Malawi (undated, received June 07) “Kayelekera Uranium Mining Debate”
2. Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Malawi (undated, received June 07) “Kayelekera Uranium Mining Who will protect the Malawi Citizens?”
3. Statement by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Citizens for Justice - (CFJ), Karonga Development Trust (KADET), Foundation for Community Support Services - (FOCUS), Uraha Foundation Malawi - (UFM), 28th August 2006 “Concerned Civil Society Organisations Query 16 Year Tax Holiday to Uranium Company”
4. Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, (4th November 2005) CHHR Concerns on Kayalakera Uranium Mining

CATHOLIC COMMISSION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
Postal Address Physical Address
Mzuzu Diocese Off Chikangawa Road
P.O. Box 840 Jobidon’s House-New Diocesan Offices
Mzuzu Near the Bishop’s Tel/Fax: (265) 01330 510
MALAWI ,CENTRAL AFRICA Residence Cell: (265) 08 838 937

Kayelekera Uranium Mining Debate

We the Catholic Commission for Justice ad Peace would like to express our deeply felt regrets and concern over the manner in which the Paladin Africa and Government of Malawi is handling the debate on the Uranium mining. The situation is being handled in a very unprofessional and unscientific manner. We appreciate the expertise of the consultants on the Environment and Radiation. While appreciating their expertise, we have the following concerns that should be put right to the whole nation:

• The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) findings are being presented to people who have never entered a Chemistry class let alone know anything about radioactivity. Is there a fare play in such situation? This is procedurally unscientific.
• The Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Resources as a servant of the people should have been sober enough by not going to the press to blast the Civil Society Organizations who are advocating for the immediate stop to Uranium mining; but instead should have instituted an independent study as provided for in the Environmental Management Act, 1996. The instituted study should have guided the Minister to provide a written response to the concerns that are being raised by the civil society and the people of Chitipa and Karonga. We feel this is unprofessional on the part of our Minister and the government of Malawi .
• Section 10 and section 16 of Environmental Management Act, 1996 provides for the formation of National Council for the Environment and Technical Committee on the Environment respectively. If at all these committees exist, they should have been the ones dialoguing with the residents of Chitipa and Karonga including the Civil Society members. The Minister has usurped all the functions and powers of these committees. The Environmental Management Act, 1996, provides for checks and balances on environmental issues. Is this being adhered to?
• It should not be an issue when donors provide resources for a Malawian to conduct study/sensitization workshops when almost all sectors of Malawi society including the government herself depend on donors. We are ably informed that Paladin Africa sponsored a Chief and a DPP NGC member on a Uranium study visit to Namibia ; nobody has raised eyebrows about it.

Hon. Minister, please listen to these:

Uranium mining has several effects i.e. the radioactivity of Uranium and its daughter facilitates the development of head & lung cancer, causes mental retardation among children as they are irradiated while in the mothers’ womb and mysterious deaths to those who are exposed to Uranium. The experts and Ministry officials are saying that the natural radioactivity that is at 0.2 percent is too negligible to cause all these. But what happens in real terms is that once the Uranium ore has been crushed flour like dust results. The dust is more soluble than the Uranium ores that are currently found at Kayelekera. Crushing increases the surface area hence it becomes more soluble. Considering that Chitipa and Karonga receives high rainfall and that heavy winds blows over the two districts; the flour like dust will be blown and dissolved. The Uranium and its daughters will find their way into the food chain. The dissolved remains will increase concentration of the same in water. Take note that the people of Karonga and Chitipa do not drink bottled water. When people drink and eat the plants and animals, Uranium will be concentrating in their bodies. It is this Uranium that concentrates in the circulatory system that facilitates the development of head and lung cancer; and mental retardation among children. This is a threat to one’s right to good health and right to life. It’s not long time ago when Malawi realized the bad effects of DDT and today we are working towards a similar phenomenon.

Paladin Resources has shifted to Africa because of environmental and social issues in Australia . The Managing Director of Paladin Resource was recently quoted in the Australian press as saying ‘there’s been an over-compensation in terms of thinking about environmental issues and social issues in regard to Uranium mining in Australia forcing companies like Paladin into Africa (Herald Sun of April 3, 2006). He further said that ‘New miners must adhere to Federal Labor’s three mines policy because the party is in power in every state and territory’. The ruling Labor Party in Australia is concerned about Environmental and Social Issues that affect Australian Citizens, hence has tightened laws. What is the position of DPP on environmental and social issues?

We the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace would like to recommend that the government of Malawi should institute an independent study to be carried by Devils’ Advocates who are experts in issues of the environment and radiation. The findings by Paladin Africa experts and those by the Devils’ Advocates should be presented before environmentalists and radioactive experts who have the welfare of Malawians at heart.

If the Environmental Impact Assessment findings are disseminated to people who are radioactivity illiterate; the government of Malawi does not want to exhaust all the procedures as provided for in the Environmental Management Act, 1996; and Paladin Resources has ran away from their homeland because of environmental and social concerns, for the sake of accountability and transparence tell us, in the Kayelekera Uranium mining debate, who is fooling who?

John Chawinga
CCJP Secretary Mzuzu Diocese.

CATHOLIC COMMISSION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
Postal Address Physical Address
Mzuzu Diocese Off Chikangawa Road
P.O. Box 840 Jobidon’s House-New Diocesan Offices
Mzuzu Near the Bishop’s Tel/Fax: (265) 01330 510
MALAWI ,CENTRAL AFRICA Residence Cell: (265) 08 838 937

Kayelekera Uranium Mining

Who will protect the Malawi Citizens?

The message is loud and clear that uranium mining is not as ordinary as is the case with other minerals like copper or diamonds. Experts in uranium mining and environmentalists alike have condemned and trashed the Environmental Impart Assessment report by Paladin ( Africa ) that it is unscientific and cannot be accepted anywhere in the world. We feel these sentiments as expressed by experts communicates enough to people of good will and good character; and one should have expected government to pause and reflected upon the messages. But alas! Those charged with the responsibility of protecting the Malawi citizens and see to it that the rule of law is followed; Do not want to listen and reflect on the voices and cries from the people.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace concerned with the casual approach on how the government of Malawi is handling the Kayelekera Uranium mining project; and knowing that the government has the responsibility to protect the citizens as enshrined in the constitution of Malawi and the Environmental Management Act, 1996, condemns government for not listening and being procedural in granting the mining license to Paladin Africa Ltd. The government of Malawi is being unfair to Malawi citizens on the following:
ć As required by law, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace together with other civil society organizations submitted written concerns to government on the shortfalls in EIA report. The government of Malawi is obliged by the laws of Malawi to provide written response to the concerns and how they have been addressed. This has not been done. But the government has gone a head and granted the license.
ƒá Reading through the development letter signed by John Borshoff and is dated February 23, 2007; there is no mention about the health and protection of the citizens. The letter only outlines the financial benefits to Paladin and the government of Malawi . The letter that can be found on: www.paladinresources.com.au reads in part … discussion have already occurred around financial structures, terms and conditions; and outlines terms.

Based on these observations, we feel the citizens of Malawi have been left at the crossroads because the government is not according full recognition of the rights of the people around Kayelekera, the whole country and future generations as provided in section 13 part d on principles of national policy considering that Uranium mining effects are long lasting.

By entering into development agreement on Kayelekera uranium mining with Paladin Africa Ltd, the government of Malawi has left its citizens in the cold while conniving with Paladin Africa Ltd; whose activities at kayelekera will cause harm and cost lives for generations to come.

Whether as individuals, communities, societies or governments, we should know that we do not own creation but we are stewards according to the will of God. God expects us to use this creation in a sustainable way so that future generations should be able to meet their needs also. If as a government we go ahead in allowing Paladin Africa Ltd to start development at Kayelekera without addressing the shortfalls in EIA report we should know that we are working against the role of stewardship of creation that God assigned us.

We know that as government you are also charged with the responsibility of economic growth for the country and you have hope in the uranium mining that it will boost the economy. Remember the seven fat cows and the seven thin ones in the story of Joseph in Egypt . We may anticipate seven years of economic boom but after seven years and beyond the country may not contain the health and environmental problems that might follow.

A word of advise to decision makers; Please desist from making decisions or rubber stamping decisions because we may not be directly affected by consequences of the decision; but let us make decisions that embraces the principle of intergenerational solidarity and the teaching of God that says love your neighbour as you love yourself.

John Chawinga
CCJP Secretary Mzuzu Diocese.

Concerned Civil Society Organizations Query 16-Year Tax Holiday to Uranium Company

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Citizens for Justice (CFJ), Karonga Development Trust (KADET), Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS) and Uraha Foundation Malawi (UFM) wish to express grave concerns pertaining to the uranium article feaured in the Malawi News on August 19th – 25th 2006. The assertion that the Malawi government had granted Paladin Africa Limited a subsidiary of Paladin Resources Inc. a sixteen (16) year tax exemption is deplorable and in bad taste to every concerned Malawian.

It is further disheartening to note that Malawians from various sectors and all walks of life do contribute annually millions of Kwachas in form of taxes to support the government. But how much more disappointing can it be to hear that a foreign investor (Paladin Africa Limited) is discussing to be exempted from paying taxes for a period of sixteen years yet the mining life span is ten years. Who sanctions such exemptions and what is the criteria for qualification? Do such favours need involvement and approval of the National Assembly let alone the licensing? We wonder how Malawians would benefit from such a venture.

We are well aware that Paladin Africa Limited will definately rake billions of dollars considering that the world market prices on uranium are currently very high, but how about Malawi and its people benefit? We wish to remind our government that taxes need to be paid for investment in the much needed social programs such as health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and the list is endless. Whereas a large chunk of the national budget is donor funded, how then, does the government afford to grant tax exemption for such a long period of time and at the same time continue to solicit for donor funding?

Once again, we wish to assure the government and all Malawians that from the outset, we are not opposed to the development of the mining project at Kayelekera but we advocating for moral, ethical and social responsibility to be upheld.

We would also like to remind Malawians that Uranium mining and milling is a dangerous and risky polluting process that threatens the health of workers, communities, and the environment. Uranium mining process also creates large amounts of long-lasting radioactive waste products known as tailings. The tailings contain 80% of the radioactivity of the original uranium ore, which are difficult to control and isolate, and they pose a direct threat to humans and the wider environment for thousands of years and this will affect countless Malawians and not just people surrounding the mine.

Once again, we bring to the attention of the public that studies conducted in Kayelekera area by a German Institution have shown that uranium from the mine site has been able to move to the North Rukuru River , which drains, into Lake Malawi . This being the case, many Malawians ought to be more apprehensive about the legacy of our beautiful fresh water lake and its natural habitat.

We further bring to the attention of the public that uranium mining is banned in Western Australia the base of Paladin Resources Incorporated. According to the Managing Director of the company Mr. John Borshoff as quoted in an Australian daily (Melbourne Herald Sun) on 3rd April 2006 “there has been an over compensation in terms of thinking about environmental and social issues” in regard to uranium mining operations in Australia, forcing companies like Paladin into Africa.

If this is the case then Malawians should be querying if at all issues of “weak governance zones” or less advocacy on environmental and social policies are at stake here.

The environmental degradation and other social concerns cannot and will not be traded for anything tangible. If Malawians are taking the risk of accepting a project that will be detrimental to their own safety without any benefits then what use would be the sacrifice? Probably the only way Malawians may benefit from such a hazardous venture is by government taxing the multinational company. As much as this is not a trade off, money cannot compensate loss of life nor environmental degradation, but tax might be an incentive for the sacrifice Malawians are making.

We may want to believe that the dealings between the Malawi government and Paladin are openhanded, but we question the sensation of certainty that the company will be granted the full mining license to start its operation. We are troubled that this sensation may propagate a feeling of sloppiness in the legal procedures that the company is mandated to undertake before it can start its mining operation. This (sensation) should have been avoided as the company is still in the process of conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS), which are needed to apply for a full mining license.

We wish to implore the government to act as the guardian of protecting the interest of Malawians as President Bingu Wa Mutharika said in his Banjul, Gambia speech titled “ One Africa One Destiny “ that “ These God given endowments are not in the hands of Africans but controlled by the north through their transnational corporations” he further said “ Globalization and the strong cord between rich countries and multinationals has forced Africa into the fringes of the economic pie of the global village, it cannot control its own destiny.” Finally, he said, “now that Africa is free from colonialism, the next step is to attain economic liberation of our continent.” Yes, as the President rightly stated, Malawi needs to guard against exploitation of our natural resources by multinational corporations.

Finally yet importantly as concerned Malawians, we appeal to the government to let all the legal procedures involved in such investment ventures capture the due process. Discussions of tax breaks at a time that Paladin is conducting Environmental Impact Assessment that will allow it to apply for a full mining license are not healthy for a stringent project of the caliber of Kayelekera. This is a rush that all concerned Malawians ought to be worried about.

Lastly, we remind all that Paladin is here for business and not charity, therefore our natural resources are precious and not meant for charity.

Signed by:

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation - (CHRR)
Citizens for Justice - (CFJ)
Karonga Development Trust - (KADET)
Foundation for Community Support Services - (FOCUS)
Uraha Foundation Malawi - (UFM)

Date: 28th August 2006

4th November, 2005

CHRR CONCERNS ON KAYELEKERA
URANIUM MINING

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation take this opportunity to request the Ministry for Mines, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs to address the concerns Kayelekera uranium project with utmost caution. CHRR is responding following the Minister of Mines, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs comments regarding our concerns on the mine operations and Environmental impact assessment as appeared in the Nation of 1st November, 2005.

For the interest of the general public on the issue CHRR would like to highlight on the summary background which might encourage the honourable minister and his ministry to shed more light on the whole issue.

Background

Back in the 1980’s Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) a UK company discovered the high grade Kayelekera sandstone uranium deposit. It is documented that CEGB spent US$9 million working on the project for over 8 years culminating to a full feasibility study in 1991 by Wright Engineers Limited of Canada . However, the study indicated that the project was uneconomical due to the mining model that CEGB was to adopt and the uranium prices were low at the time. The project was abandoned in 1992, owing to the poor outlook for uranium as well as the privatization of CEGB according to the master minders. CHRR feels it would have been important for the then government of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to actually enlighten the nation as to what happened.

However, in 1999 Paladin Resources Limited Inc an Australian company acquired 90% interest in the project through a joint venture from Balmain Resources Limited, who retained 10% of free carried interest until the completion of the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS).

In 2000, the project was transferred to the Malawian registered company Paladin Africa Limited a wholly owned subsidiary of Paladin Resources Inc. Further, the company proceeded on with engineering and financial evaluation using new project development concepts which showed positive outcome for the economy. The CEGB 1989-92 pre-feasibility study was also updated and metallurgical and resource drilling commenced in 2004.

In May 2005 the BFS commenced to verify new mining/milling concepts that are to be adopted as well as validation (or modification if required) of all other environmental and mine model parameters used in 1991 final feasibility study.

With this kind of background/information exclusive of what Paladin Resources Inc has posted on their website and others concerning the Kayelekera project, it is regrettable for Mines, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs, Minister to say he does not know what kind of report CHRR is looking for.

On 27th October 2005, CHRR together with Karonga Development Trust (KADET) members, on a fact finding mission visited the Kayelekera uranium site. We may not be experts but undeniably there are activities taking place, whereas the ministry has not informed Malawians in general let alone the resident communities within the prospective operation area of this project.

In addition, the Mines, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Minister and his Lands counterpart have on miscellaneous occasions personally visited the Paladin mining camp in Kayelekera, without divulging information. As government officials why has there been no account in regard to these visits either to the National Assembly, the public or elsewhere but just little information in the print media? Then one would not help to question whose interests are being served.

CHRR wishes to emphatically observe that, the secretive approach which the government and Paladin Resources Inc have chosen to pursue leaves a lot to be desired. Besides, how is a Bankable Feasibility Study on and yet the Environmental Impact Assessment Study which is a standard requirement has not been carried out? Who comes first, is it Malawi or Paladin ( Australia )? This is what CHRR together with all concerned Malawians would like to know.

We are also equally concerned and greatly dissatisfied with the whole procedure as it seems geared to sink, defeat and overwhelm the right to access to information to Malawians in particular the people Kayelekera area which is enshrined in Section 37 of our republican Constitution.

However, uranium mining being an area of significant interest in the world at present our purpose as CHRR is to marshal, inform and assist the resident communities (would victims of radiation) identify the key issues and rights associated with uranium mining. It is our aspiration that the USES, BENEFITS as well as HAZARDS of uranium shall be understood and the determination of the future arrived at soberly and appropriately.

All Malawians should know and understand that uranium mining has stimulated immense distress in respect to environmental and radiation aspects over the last three decades around the globe.

Indeed, from the economic perspective CHRR understands that it is clear there might be an opportunity for our beloved country Malawi to profit from uranium mining. However, we would like to raise this supreme and most fundamental question WHETHER OR NOT THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OUTWEIGH THE SOCIAL CONCERNS AND HAZARDS considering that the Kayelekera mine life span will only be 10-12 years.

CHRR finally wishes to remind the government and the general public that:

1. Uranium mining carries the danger of airborne radioactive dust and the release of radioactive radon gas and its decay products which is hazardous to the general public and workers.
2. Uranium has radiological consequences for employees if not well protected risking development of lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases.
3. There will be contamination of water resource use with the toxic chemicals used in the separation of the uranium ore.
4. Mismanagement of uranium disposal waste from leaching ore can have long term health and environmental consequences.

CHRR, KADET and others concerned might not achieve every goal and may concede to lack of scientific and legal authority to realize the necessary goals immediately but, assistance and assurance from the relevant authorities, environmental organizations and well-wishers that fight to preserve and monitor the environment for posterity will certainly come so as to win respect as Malawians.

Lastly, CHRR refuses to accept the government’s and Paladin Resources Inc assumption that Kayelekera is the sacrificial land. CHRR will continue to fight for human rights; environmental justice and most of all protect the Kayelekera land.

Undule D.K. Mwakasungura
Acting Executive Director

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