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Uranium miner Paladin Energy has slammed reports by non-government organisations (NGOs) in Malawi, implying that the company had begun discharging waste materials from the Kayelekera mine into the local river system. Paladin officially ceased uranium production at Kayelekera in May last year, placing the mine on care and maintenance. Mining operations were suspended in February, but ore processing continued.
Paladin previously announced plans to start the controlled release of surpluswater into the local river systems in early 2015, and has modified a section of the treatment plant at the Kayelekera mine to allow treatment to meet local and internationally recognised discharge standards.
The miner said on Monday that the controlled water release was necessary to avoid any possible unplanned and uncontrolled discharge of run-off watercontained in storage ponds, while the mine was under care and maintenance.
However, Paladin pointed out that rainfall in Malawi has been relatively light and infrequent to date, which meant that little, or no, run-off had occurred, with the miner stressing that no water had been treated or released to date.
Once water treatment and release started, Paladin would undertake constantenvironmental monitoring in the process, which would be monitored and regulated by the Malawi government.
The relevant authorities have reviewed and licensed the process by which Paladin would treat and release the water, with strict conditions regulating critical water quality parameters having been imposed.
The miner did not expect any human or environmental hazard to arise from the release of the treated water.
Meanwhile, Paladin told shareholders that it would pursue legal steps against the relevant NGOs if the “misleading statements” around the company’s watertreatment plans continued.