The civil society in Karonga have engaged an international nuclear expert to conduct an independent investigation into the silent side-effects of uranium mining at Kayerekera in Karonga North West.
Bruno Chareyron, a French engineer in energetic and nuclear physics with a master’s degree in particle physics, will touch down at Kamuzu International Airport, Lilongwe, on Friday and spend his night in Mzuzu.
The specialist comes slightly over a month after a partial damage of a tank at Kayerekera led to spills which both government and Paladin Africa, the firm running the mine, quickly dismissed as nothing worrisome.
The independent assessor’s coming has been financed by Environmental Justice Organisation Liability and Trade (Ejolt), but Karonga Network for Natural Resources Justice’s (KNNRJ) involvement mirrors the activists’ deep-lying doubts about the official stand that all is well at Kayerekera.
This is the second time Chareyron is coming into the country to assess the effects of Kayerekera. His first research tour was in 2012.
The Mines and Minerals Act of 1981, which is under review, requires those interested to visit mining areas to write the mining company through the minister responsible for mining.
Paladin managing director Greg Walker said he welcomed the coming of the engineer, saying he (Chareyron) has informed Paladin of his intention to primarily visit Kayerekera mining site to appreciate the plans to release waste water from storage tanks.
On Wednesday, Minister of Energy, Natural Resources and Mining Atupele Muluzi said he was aware of the impending visits of the nuclear engineer.
Said Muluzi:“He has not been granted the permit yet, but I have already instructed the principal secretary to give him permission. His coming is good for transparency.”