Paladin Energy says its Kayelekera Mine operations in Malawi are not expected to be affected by planned protests over the company’s sourcing of food from outside the country.

The uranium miner said operations at its Kayelekera Mine were proceeding well and would not be affected by a demonstration on a highway in the nearby town of Karonga between November 14 and November 17.

Paladin said it had learnt that two groups, the Karonga Youth for Justice and Karonga Business Community, planned to blockade the M26 highway, which is a major access route to its Kayelekera Mine.

“Paladin does not anticipate any disruption to its operations however it also maintains adequate stocks of diesel and necessary reagents on site to mitigate the risk of supply disruptions due to weather or other reasons,” the company said in a statement.

Paladin said the Malawi police force told the company any attempt to block the highway would be unlawful and necessary steps would be taken to ensure public access is not restricted.

The company disputes claims it imports rice to feed its workforce, rather than buying locally and that the company discriminates against local suppliers in food.

“This is definitely not the case,” Paladin said.

The company said 23 local groups supplied food to the Kayelekera Operations and Paladin contributed $US48 million ($A46.35 million) to local suppliers in fiscal year 2012.

At 1345 AEDT Paladin shares were steady at $1.10.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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