Malawi government facilitates CSOs visit to Kayerekera
The Ministry of Natural resources, Energy and Mines facilitated a visit of civil society organisations (CSOs), chiefs and the people of Karonga to Kayerekera Uranium mine last week after they were initially denied entry to the mine recently.
Among those that made the trip on Friday were Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines, Ben Botolo, Paramount Chief Kyungu, Traditional Authorities Mwilang’ombe and Mwakaboko, Karonga District Council Chairman Patrick Kishombe, Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Vincent Ghambi, District Commissioner, Rosemary Moyo, and the CSOs among others.
Botolo highlighted that the objective of the visit to Kayerekera was to afford an opportunity to chiefs, CSOs, media, councillors and the people of Karonga to inspect the mining facility and ascertain how the company was addressing various security and environmental concerns that had been raised.
Prior to the trip, Paramount Kyungu demanded that mining activities in Malawi needed to be carried out within the laws that safeguarded the interests of local Malawians.
Kyungu initially refused to be part of the trip to visit Kayerekera until Paladin apologised to him and his fellow chiefs for refusing them entry into Kayerekera facility last year.
It took the intervention of Botolo and Ghambi to persuade him to visit the facility.
Before departure, the CSOs requested that a checklist be produced to guide the visitors to the mine. In particular, they requested for a briefing on what was agreed between government and the company as contained in documents such as Environmental Impact Assessment report, among others.
However, these documents were not provided, a development which irked the CSOs who argued that government was deliberately shielding the mine from some illicit activities.
Paladin has however consistently argued that its operations at the mine are aboveboard.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues