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Government nods to Kayelekera sale

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The government has given contractual consent to Lotus Resources Limited to acquire Australian-based Paladin Energy stakes in the Kayelekera Uranium Mine.

The development comes amid criticism from some civil society organisations over what they call secrecy on part of the government in handling the deal.

A statement The Daily Times has seen released by Lotus Resources indicates that the Minister for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining and the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development have given consent for the sale.

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It, however, points out that the consent is subject to Paladin Energy settling all remaining tax liabilities with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

“Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) has granted an extension to Lotus for two weeks to March 13, 2020 to complete the Kayelekera acquisition by waiver of ASX Listing Rule 14.7. The Company expects the remaining conditions will be satisfied and completed on or before March13.

“Lotus will immediately proceed with Tranche 2 of the associated capital raising so capital is available for the first payment on completion and it will work with Paladin to achieve a responsible handover of Kayelekera site,” reads the statement in part.

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Deputy Director of Mines, Peter Chilumanga, said the ministry had already given a statutory consent but the company was looking for a corporate consent from Treasury.

“That will allow Paladin to transfer 85 percent of the shares to Lotus, Malawi government still returns a 15 percent shareholding and one of the conditions we gave them was to clear themselves of all the liabilities that include getting a tax clearance certificate so that is between the company, Treasury and MRA,” Chilumanga said.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Davis Sado, said Treasury will give an official position on the matter in due course.

Last year, dual-listed miner, Paladin Energy Limited, announced intentions to offload its 85 percent stakes in Kayelekera mine, a move that attracted mixed reactions.

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