Miner faults government over ‘inactive’ Kayerekera
Lotus Resources Limited, a miner at the Kayerekera Uranium Mine, has faulted the government for what it calls failure to conclude on time, the drawing of a Mining Development Agreement (MDA) which would see resumption of operations.
One of Lotus Resources’ Directors Grain Malunga said negotiations between the two parties were already concluded, and the firm awaits a government nod.
“It is the government that is delaying the process. The prices on the international market are no longer a problem. If the agreement is concluded now, finances will be raised and they will start resuscitating the factory since it has been idle since 2014.
“It would take at least a year and half to resume mining from the time the agreement is signed. So, it is really up to the government,” Malunga said.
But the Ministry of Mining spokesperson Andrew Mkonda attributed the delay to what he rated as inadvertent delays from both parties in reaching a consensus on complexity and risks associated with the concerned MDA.
He said the government is moving to have an accurate deal in the best interest of Malawians.
“As a country, we want to ensure that the range and applicable rates of royalties, taxes, duties and levies and the manner in which such liabilities will be calculated make sense for Malawi.
“Admittedly, this has not been easy to come by considering that each party always seeks the best out of the MDA,” he said.
Mkonda said the MDA negotiations were kick-started when some critical feasibility studies by the companies were yet to complete, hence, taking long to complete.
In August 2022, Lotus released a Definitive Feasibility Study for restart of the Kayelekera Mine operations, which demonstrated the mine can support a viable long-term operation.
It says the mine has potential to be one of the first uranium projects to recommence production in the future.
The proposed restart timeline aligns with industry predictions of a market under-supply of approximately 30 million pounds of uranium commencing in 2024/2025.