The piece “Kayelekera, Kanyika on spotlight as Atupele meets Australian mining investors” featured below was initially published in Malawi’s Mining Review Issue Number 17 2014 that was circulated in October 2014.
Atupele Muluzi’s full speech made at the Africa Down Under mining conference in Perth, Australia, is available here.
To learn more about this quarterly publication, edited by Marcel Chimwala, read the post about the “Voice of the mineral sector in Malawi”.
Kayelekera, Kanyika on spotlight as Atupele meets Australian mining investors
By Mining Reporter
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Atupele Muluzi, says he took advantage of his recent trip to Australia to attend the Africa Down Under Conference in Perth by meeting a number of top executives of Australian companies with interest in Malawi to discuss topical issues related to their investment in the country.
Muluzi says in a statement that among others he met CEO for Paladin Energy John Borshoff whose company has suspended production at Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga, and has currently put the mine on care and maintenance.
Being the single largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in Malawi’s mining sector, Paladin Africa through its CEO John Borshoff confirmed its commitment to the Kayelekera Project and in particular to restart production when Uranium price rises to $ 75/lb for benchmark profitability to occur,
Muluzi reports that Paladin Africa welcomed Malawi’s new administration’s open approach to direct foreign investment, minerals and fiscal policy changes and anti-corruption focus.
He says during the meeting, Paladin urged the Government of Malawi to promote the country’s mineral potential to the possible maximum to encourage more companies to explore and develop mining prospects.
Muluzi also says Paladin Africa offered its willingness to assist Malawi’s geological and geophysical departments through the promotion of Malawi’s geological potential from the nationwide geophysical survey recently completed.
Paladin Africa proposed the possibility of appropriate academics coming to Malawi from Australia to teach specialties at Malawian Universities/ technical colleges on short three month courses to benefit Malawian students,
says the Minister.
Muluzi also met officials of Globe Metals & Mining, who are currently negotiating a development agreement with the Malawi Government for the Kanyika Niobium Mining Project in Mzimba.
The minister reports that the company gave a brief on their business undertakings in Malawi at present such as the testing of Kanyika samples at one of China’s mineral processing institutes with a view of maximizing niobium and other mineral exploration.
Globe Metals gave brief details of their five hundred million dollars ($500,000,000) investment in the country’s mining sector.
We also discussed their expectation from the mining agreement which is under discussion with the Government of Malawi and guarantees of power supply from ESCOM to avoid use of diesel generated power that increases the cost of doing business in the country.
The minister also met Excuctive Chairperson of Intra Energy Graeme Robertson, whose firm is mining coal at Nkhachira in the Kayelekera area, and wants to use it for generation of electricity at its Pamodzi Power Project at Chipoka in Salima.
Muluzi says his meeting with the company discussed the clear synergies between agricultural and mining sectors and the possibility of increasing Malawi’s power production capacity and its ability to export power to its neighbouring countries.
The meeting highlighted that the problems facing existing transmission lines are the bottleneck. There were recommendations that increasing transmission line capacity should come after bringing on line 3 new 40MW power stations. Preferable as this would establish a track record of successfully delivering projects of this nature and that smaller 40MW stations can be added incrementally.
Intra Energy’s Malawi subsidiary, MALCOAL has the highest proportion of females to male working on a mine in Africa.
While in Australia, Muluzi also met officials of Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Woodside Oil and Gas, Swala Energy and Sovereign Metals.
One key factor is noted in this trip to Australia is that there is indeed enormous competition for mining investments in Africa against limited foreign direct investment (FDI). It is my considered view that with the efforts being undertaken by the current Government to improve the minerals sector, more investors will continue to come and inquire on investment potential especially after the completion of the Airborne Geophysical Survey interpretation besides current inquiries underway,
The Africa Down Under conference was officially opened by H.E. Colin Barnet, the Prime Minister of Western Australia State on September, 3 2014.