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Radioactive pollution of Lake Malawi by Australian uranium company Paladin?

Malawi-LakeThe lake provides water for drinking and domestic use to millions of Malawians. Part of the lake is protected as a national park, and it is inhabited by more than 850 cichlid fish species found nowhere else on Earth.

Malawi: Paladin Accused of Discharging Uranium-Contaminated Sludge in Lake Malawi http://allafrica.com/stories/201412301012.html A coalition of Malawi civil society organisations (CSOs) has accused Paladin Energy Ltd, a company that is mining Uranium ore at Kayerekera in the northern district of Karonga over reports the mining company is secretly discharging into Lake Malawi uranium contaminated sludge from the tailings dam at the mining site.

Renowned human rights activist, Rafiq Hajat shared a report compiled by a members of the Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN) in which it is alleged paladin is discharging uranium sludge from Kayerekera into Lake Malawi.

“A radius of 35 km from the Boma, you will be shocked to see fish of different species dead with some communities along the lakeshore collecting [the fish]. Collectiong as part of their relish. The cause not yet known. Reports from the Beach Village Chairman indicates that this started in late November but Government was not forth coming (sich)” reads part of the post.

Paladin had aroused the wrath of the coalition of the CSOs under the banner of Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN) over reports which emerged late November that Paladin Energy was planning of discharging uranium mining sludge into the Sere and North Rukuru rivers.

The toxic substances that would flow from the tailings pond at the Kayelekera Uranium Mine into Lake Malawi 50 kilometers (30 miles) downstream include waste uranium rock, acids, arsenic and other chemicals used in processing the uranium ore, the coalition fears.

“It is rumored that Paladin secretly have started discharging the so called purified water and the trip was one of the verification. This is terrible news and may have catastrophic ramifications if not checked immediately.” Reads the statement shared by Hajat.

However, in a statement issued last month, Paladin Energy stated that water from its tailings dam at Kayelekera uranium mine which is discharging into the North Rukuru River poses no human or environmental risks.

The process has been reviewed and agreed by relevant agencies of the Government of Malawi, which is imposing conditions regulating critical water quality parameters, including uranium, consistent with international guidelines” a statement issued in November by Paladin Energy stated.

The company also said that it plans to start discharging the water in early 2015 and that reports it is discharging the contaminated wastes are not true.

Lake Malawi in eastern Africa is the world’s ninth largest lake, some 580 kilometers (360 miles) long, and 75 kilometres (47 miles) wide at its widest point. It extends into Malawi’s neighbours Tanzania and Mozambique.

The lake provides water for drinking and domestic use to millions of Malawians. Part of the lake is protected as a national park, and it is inhabited by more than 850 cichlid fish species found nowhere else on Earth.

Paladin Africa is the Malawi subsidiary of Australian mining giant Paladin Energy Ltd, with 15 percent owned by the Government of Malawi.

Last year, Paladin Africa’s Kayelekera Mine in Karonga produced 1,066 metric tonnes of U3O8, triuranium octoxide, a compound of uranium. One of the more popular forms of yellowcake, U3O8 is converted to uranium hexafluoride to make enriched uranium for use in nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons.

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January 2, 2015 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, Malawi

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