Yesterday The Daily Times‘ headline story erroneously reported that Paladin “has sold off the [Kayelekera] mine to a Chinese firm [China National Nuclear Corporation]”. Kayelekera is Malawi’s largest mining project, which is, however, on care and maintenance.
This story penned by Adam Phiri forced ASX-listed Paladin Energy to respond with an announcement:
Paladin Energy Limited (Paladin) (ASX:PDN / TSX:PDN) wishes to respond to an article which appeared in The Daily Times (Malawi) on 15 December 2015 under the title “Paladin sells off Kayelekera Mine”. The article incorrectly asserts Paladin has sold all or part of its 85% interest in Kayelekera Mine to China National Nuclear Corporation. Paladin wishes to point out that there has been no change in its ownership of the Kayelekera Mine in Malawi.
Kayelekera Mine was placed into care and maintenance in May 2014 due to low global uranium prices. A restart of Kayelekera Mine under favourable uranium market conditions would have the potential to quickly expand Paladin’s overall production by in excess of 40%.
Phiri wrote “A search on the Australian Stock Exchange showed that the mine had been sold off to China National Nuclear Corporation”and went as far as to ask the Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Ben Botolo, what he thought about this alleged development. Botolo responded,
If you look at most of the mining companies, they are listed on the stock market. So the business basically is done on the stock market in terms of the shareholding, the change of ownership… and now it has been taken over by the Chinese company. […]
So where ever they were operating, now it is the Chinese who are operating that company. At first it was the Australian investors now they are Chinese that are in charge of the company, including the uranium mine in Malawi. […]
Look it depends on the investors themselves. If they see Malawi as their strategic point where the product will be marketable, they will invest in the country. That company is strategising how to operate. It may have a different mode of operating. We will see what will happen.
Although Paladin has not sold part or all of its interests in Malawi to the China National Nuclear Corporation, in 2014 Paladin Energy through its subsidiary Langer Heinrich Uranium sold off a 25% stake in the Langer Heinrich Mine in the Nambian Namib Desert to a wholly-owned subsidiary of the China National Nuclear Corporation.