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4637Re: [ujeni] news: Uranium mine to transform Karonga

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  • Joanna Jane Hooper
    Jun 4, 2005
      Interesting article Scott. Do you have any idea how
      Malawi will ensure that this Australian company doesn't
      just come in, take the vast majority of the profits, bring
      mostly their own employees, and leave the Malawians to do
      the skut work--how do developing countries deal with this?
      Will Malawi actually profit, or will the spoils all go
      back to Australia?


      On Thu, 2 Jun 2005 18:04:35 +0300
      "Scott Geibel" <scott@...> wrote:
      > This is an interesting development, which I've been
      >monitoring for a while.
      > The article greatly overexagerates the national-level
      >economic impact, but
      > the operational facts check out.
      > Uranium mine to transform Karonga
      > by Francis Tayanjah-Phiri, 26 May 2005 - 14:01:38
      > Malawi?s northern town of Karonga is sitting on a
      >fortune which is anticipated
      > to turn the economy of the country around should both
      >government and investors
      > take it seriously.
      > The project, lying on the northern part of the Northern
      >Rukuru River basin
      > within Karroo Sandstones, is also expected to transform
      >the livelihood of
      > people in Karonga.
      > The investors, Paladin Resources Limited, a company
      >listed on the Australian
      > Stock Exchange, is talking big of how the Uranium
      >deposits at Kayelekera,
      > 40 kilometres west of Karonga along the Chitipa road,
      >could make Malawi
      > swim in money.
      > Going by the Uranium captains? zeal, one would say town
      >planners? better
      > act fast before they are overtaken by events in this
      >already growing town.
      > Currently, Paladin Africa Limited, a company founded by
      >the mother Australian
      > firm to run the Karonga uranium initiative, has already
      >started erecting
      > a camp on the mine site. Immediately this camp finishes,
      >maybe in a week
      > or two, what they call ?bankable feasibility studies?
      >would start.
      > ?We have finished marking the drilling sites and are
      >ready for a process
      > we term assaying ? which is establishing how much
      >uranium there is down
      > here.
      > ?This process would involve metallurgy, which is a
      >treatment test ? how
      > to take the uranium out of the rock ? and this test
      >would be done by independent
      > experts, Mintek of South Africa, with other samples also
      >sent to Australia
      > for diverse laboratory tests,? says Paladin Resources?
      >chief geologist,
      > Ed Becker.
      > Becker, in the company of Project Geologist, Alexander
      >Kathewera said prospects
      > of going full throttle mining within a couple of years
      >are high .
      > ?The current process of bankable feasibility studies
      >would be done by independent
      > consultants, and this would involve drilling a total of
      >5,500 metres on
      > different sites within the uranium territory and we have
      >120 drill holes
      > earmarked,? he said.
      > The geologists also said in two months time the mine
      >site would boast of
      > its own modern weather station used to indicate weather.
      >This, he said,
      > is a requirement in the uranium mining process.
      > ?Currently we are acquiring the equipment from South
      >Africa,? he said.
      > Kathewera and Becker also say the ongoing feasibility
      >studies would involve
      > a thorough environmental impact study ? to be done by an
      >independent company,
      > just like the other phases of the study.
      > Focus of the study, says Becker, is detailed
      >verification of the new mining/milling
      > concepts planned to be adopted in the project and
      >validation or modification,
      > if required, of all other mine model parameters used in
      >the 1990 feasibility
      > study.
      > This new study will be done in two stages and is
      >expected to take 18 months
      > to complete.
      > The 1990 feasibility studies were conducted by the
      >Central Electricity Generating
      > Board in Great Britain (CEGB), a company that initially
      >discovered the high
      > grade Kayelekera sandstone uranium deposits in early
      > That company carried out extensive work on the project
      >and completed the
      > feasibility studies in 1991. Their studies indicated
      >that the project was
      > uneconomic, using the mining model they adopted ? and
      >later, it was abandoned
      > in 1992, largely due to poor outlook for uranium and the
      >privatisation of
      > CEGB, pressurising the company to return to its core
      > But one sees the seriousness of the new investors in
      >their mine initiative
      > when told that the company (Paladin Resources) has
      >injected US$2 million
      > ? whose end results would determine the total capital
      >investment for the
      > mine.
      > ?However, from our preliminary studies, we estimate the
      >mine would require
      > about $60 million to fully start operating as a mine,?
      >said Becker.
      > Once mining starts, it is expected that several other
      >business activities
      > will crop up in Karonga and Malawi as a whole. For
      >instance, Paradin Resources
      > top management talks of the requirement to have a daily
      >commercial flight
      > to and from Karonga, which automatically brings back to
      >life the Karonga
      > Airport.
      > It is expected that the bulk of core trained employees
      >of the mine would
      > net a monthly income of approximately $1,000 ? which
      >would automatically
      > mean transformation of lives in Karonga, as these people
      >would do most of
      > their shopping in that town.
      > The bulk of the employees would be residing at Karonga
      >town and commute
      > by company bus every day to the mine site at Kayelekera.
      >This translates
      > into a booming demand of residential houses in the town.
      > The frequency of officials flying from Australia and
      >other countries where
      > Paradin Resources has mining investments would also
      >necessitate decent accommodation
      > and restaurants in the town ? obviously boosting the
      >tourism industry.
      > Village head Kayelekera beams with pride when he
      >visualises how the mine
      > would transform lives of people in his area.
      > ?The first thing I think of is that my village would be
      >transformed, all
      > of a sudden poverty would either completely go, or be
      >alleviated. People
      > in my village solely depend on subsistence farming,
      >which has not taken
      > us anywhere. Now they will have a chance to work on the
      >mine,? he says.
      > It is all clear that once the project becomes
      >operational it will have a
      > great impact on and make a difference on the people of
      >the town and Malawi
      > as a whole
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