/ 11 January 2008

Uranium mining to boost Malawi exports

A uranium mining project by an Australian firm due to begin in northern Malawi next year will boost the country’s exports by 25%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In a new country report released this week, the IMF said the $185-million project by mining firm Paladin could add up to 10% of the Southern African country’s overall GDP and 25% to exports.

However, the report said the impact in export earnings was likely to peak after an four-year surge before production slowly tailed off.

”The mine will add overall economic growth during the first four years but will then detract from overall growth as production is expected to wind down at the end of the mine’s life” in 2020, the IMF said.

Paladin Africa, which last year received a licence to mine uranium at Kayelekera, 40km west of Karonga town, says the mine will earn Malawi $200-million in export income per annum.

The mining project, hailed as Malawi’s biggest investment ever, had been due to begin later this year but the timetable has slipped amid challenges by environmental groups over its impact. — Sapa-AFP