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Malawi locals opposing Australian uranium miner

AFRICA: We Are the Government  By Jessie Boylan LAGO DISTRICT, Mozambique, Nov 6 (IPS)

“……………….Organised by the Citizens for Justice (CFJ), the meeting had representatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), churches, communities and universities; and concluded with a clear strategy and action plan as to how the new civil society ‘movement’ would proceed. .………….

“The government is you and me, we are supposed to take control,” said a university representative.

“We are citizens of Malawi, we all have constitutional rights to be protected and safe. Our government is a signatory to international laws… they must protect us,” said a workers rights campaigner. ……………………

The KUM, which is owned by Paladin Energy Africa, an Australian company, began full operation this year, and intends to begin exporting within the coming months.

The mine began production without the proper legislation in place to deal with minerals such as uranium. Paladin and the government have been criticised for failing to meet international standards of uranium mining and the handling of radioactive waste.

Paladin are junior players in the mining business, with only one other operating mine, the Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia. They have been criticised for being unable to conform to Australian mining standards and turning to Africa, which has little understanding and regulation of uranium mining, meaning they can operate without being monitored or being held accountable.

“Paladin are operating under outdated legislation,” said Reinford Mwagonde, the director for CFJ. “They are operating under the 1981 Mines and Minerals Act, which was passed during (President Kamuzu) Banda’s ‘one-party’ regime, so it is very archaic, it’s very old, and it bares little relevance to current standards………
The KUM, which is owned by Paladin Energy Africa, an Australian company, began full operation this year, and intends to begin exporting within the coming months.

The mine began production without the proper legislation in place to deal with minerals such as uranium. Paladin and the government have been criticised for failing to meet international standards of uranium mining and the handling of radioactive waste.

Paladin are junior players in the mining business, with only one other operating mine, the Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia. They have been criticised for being unable to conform to Australian mining standards and turning to Africa, which has little understanding and regulation of uranium mining, meaning they can operate without being monitored or being held accountable.

“Paladin are operating under outdated legislation,” said Reinford Mwagonde, the director for CFJ. “They are operating under the 1981 Mines and Minerals Act, which was passed during (President Kamuzu) Banda’s ‘one-party’ regime, so it is very archaic, it’s very old, and it bares little relevance to current standards…………….“So we will speak with a strong voice,” Emma Musako said. “We don’t have to fear because our children are dying and in (years) to come people will have more problems, and our animals will be dying because of unclean water, so we have to speak now.”

AFRICA: We Are the Government – IPS ipsnews.net

November 9, 2009 - Posted by | 1, AFRICA, politics | , , , , , ,

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