URANIUM miner Paladin Energy has hit back at reports from Malawi which implied the group has been discharging toxic waste materials from its Kayelekera Mine into the local river system.
Paladin (PDN) said in a statement released to the ASX that it was not discharging waste into the river system in the southeast African country and was yet to treat and release any water from the project.
A coalition of Malawi civil society organisations has accused Paladin of secretly discharging contaminated sludge and mining tailings into Lake Malawi, according to a report compiled by members of the Natural Resources Justice Network.
Paladin chief executive John Borshoff said media reports were sourced from local non-government organisations and individuals who are ‚Äúopenly hostile to the company‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúcontain numerous blatant falsehoods and misleading statements, intended to cause alarm and distress in communities living in the vicinity of (the mine) and the local river system‚ÄĚ.
Paladin shares were trading 0.68 per cent lower at 36.75 cents at 1pm (AEDT), heading in the opposite direction to a resurgent energy sector, and against a benchmark index rise of 0.28 per cent.
The miner is planning to release surplus water, treated to internationally recognised discharge standards, including the World Health Organisation drinking water guideline for uranium content, into the Malawi river system in early 2015.
Paladin says this is necessary to avoid unplanned and uncontrolled discharge of run-off water contained in storage ponds at the mine.
The company previously announced plans for the controlled release of water during the monsoonal wet season, but Mr Borshoff said ‚Äúno water has been treated and released to-date‚ÄĚ due to relatively light and infrequent rainfall in northern Malawi.
Paladin said the process has been reviewed and licensed by the government of Malawi, which imposed ‚Äústrict conditions regulating critical water quality parameters, including uranium, consistent with international guidelines‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúThere will be no human or environmental hazard arising from the release of treated water,‚ÄĚ said Mr Borshoff.
‚ÄúDespite these assurances by Paladin and relevant (government) agencies, including publicly advertising in Malawi in November, certain local non-government organisations and individuals have persisted with false and misleading statements,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúPaladin emphatically refutes these accusations and will pursue legal steps unless these perpetrators of gross misinformation cease their dissemination of irresponsible and misleading fabrications.‚ÄĚ