Australian-based exploration company, Lotus Resources Ltd, which acquired Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Malawi from Paladin Energy, has said there could be at least 12 million pounds of uranium deposits remaining at the mine.
The mine produced 10.8 million pounds of uranium from 2009 to 2014 when it was being run by Paladin Energy but has been on care and maintenance since then.
This was disclosed when Minister of Energy, Rashid Gaffar, visited the mine, saying the country stands to benefit when works resume.
Lotus General Manager, Theo Keyter, said they will commit to the development plan that the Malawi government signed with Paladin Energy.
“We have got a mine life left of six years but also we are busy with some studies on whether we can extend exploration from the current site so that we can go up to 15 to 20 years. We are also renegotiating a new development plan with the community as part of our arrangement to get the mining license renewed in 2022,” he said.
On the issue of no tax holiday as the government has indicated, Keyter said there is room for negotiation.
He, however, could not commit when they will resume mining, saying there are a lot of factors.
“Obviously, the prices must be favourable. We cannot just come here in Malawi and use a lot of money and just sit idle. We also currently busy with reengineering study of the mine to see how we can do it better and cheaper to get the mine into production. So I cannot give you the exact date now,” he said.
On his part, Gaffar said Lotus Resources Limited will have no tax holiday so that it contributes a lot to the country’s economy.
“The previous managers had tax holiday for 10 years, with six years now remaining of mine life; they have to submit taxes in the years that are remaining. They are saying they will apply for other sites that also have uranium on those they can now apply for tax holidays not on this one,” he said.
Paladin invested more than $200 million in plant and infrastructure and produced uranium from 2009 to 2014.