A committee consisting of government officials and Paladin Africa Limited which is supposed to be monitoring the activities of Kayerekera Uranium Mining has not been meeting for about two years.

Clause 41.1 of the Kayelekera Development Agreement states that the Minister “shall establish a committee which shall consist of Principal Secretaries or their representatives from the Ministries responsible for Energy, Mines and Natural Resources, Labour and Vocational Training, Industry Trade and Private Sector Development, Finance, Justice and Home Affairs.”

The Committee is also supposed to have a representative of the Office of the President and Cabinet, Karonga District Commissioner’s office and Karonga District respectively and two representatives of the Company.

Paladin Energy Limited General Manager for International Affairs for Greg Walker said the inaugural meeting of the Government Liaison Committee (GLC) was held in the Ministry of Mining Conference Room on October 9, 2008 and was attended by Paladin and representatives of the Ministries of Mining, Finance, Home Affairs, Environmental Affairs, Labour and the Office of President and Cabinet.

“The GLC met on a quarterly basis during the Construction Phase of the Kayelekera Mine (2007-09) and more irregularly since then.

“The GLC has the right to formulate its own procedures, including the frequency of its meetings, and subsequently elected to reduce the number of meetings to two per year, given the lack of issues arising from the operation of the Kayelekera Mine,” Walker said.

He said the last GLC meeting was held on 12 May 2011.

He said Paladin requested the ministry to schedule another meeting of the GLC in July 2012 and again in August 2012.

“However, to-date the Company has received no response from the Ministry to its request. It is a matter for the Ministry to schedule a meeting of the GLC. Paladin can request a meeting, but cannot compel the government to hold such a meeting,” Walker said.

He said Paladin has also been submitting a written report to the Ministry of Mining on a monthly basis.

According to the agreement, the committee shall operate during the term of this agreement and the company shall furnish the committee with quarterly reports outlining its activities, the problems encountered, its plans and the number of Malawians employed, among other things.

The committee shall also monitor the company’s activities and adherence to the Approved Programme of Operations and any other issues related to it.

When contacted on the meetings, Minister of Mining John Bande said “I am not aware of the letter from Paladin but I will come back to you.”

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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