Tariff talks delay mine operations
There is deadlock over tariffs between the government and Australian-based exploration company, Lotus Resources Limited, which acquired Kayelekera Uranium Mine.
Business Times has established that Lotus is yet to commence mining operations at Kayelekera despite completing the acquisition of the mine in March last year from Paladin Energy.
This comes as the government recently said there will be no tax holiday for the firm as it embarks on mining of uranium at Kayelekera in Karonga District.
The government said Malawi had a raw deal with the previous managers of the mine, Paladin Energy and failed to significantly benefit from it.
On Tuesday Minister of Mining Rashid Gafar said the issue was being discussed at the Ministry of Finance.
In an interview Wednesday, Treasury spokesperson Williams Banda, however, said the two parties are making headway on the tariff negotiations.
“We have another meeting with energy authorities on Wednesday that will illuminate our position on the tariff negotiations with Lotus,” Banda said.
Lotus General Manager Theo Keyter could not answer his phone on several attempts.
But the situation has since angered civil society activists who believe the government is handling the matter with secrecy.
Chairperson for the Natural Resources Justice Network Kossam Munthali said the government should speed up the negotiation for the country to start benefiting from the mine.
“We are calling upon the government to come out clear,” Munthali said.
Lotus Resources Ltd, which acquired Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Malawi from Paladin Energy recently 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.
Kayelekera has more than $200 million invested in plant and infrastructure and produced uranium from2009 to 2014.