Paladin lawsuit (re Malawi)
Snapshot: In 2007, a group of NGOs sued Paladin Africa and the government of Malawi in Malawi High Court, requesting an injunction against the company's uranium exploration. The plaintiffs requested the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project be made public and local communities be consulted prior to the project's commencement. In 2007, the company and NGOs reached an out of court settlement. As part of the agreement, new legislation would be passed regulating uranium mining and transportation.
In May 2007, a group of NGOs sued Paladin Africa (part of Paladin Resources) and the Government of Malawi in Malawi High Court, seeking to halt uranium exploration by the company at the Kayelekera project in Karonga district. The plaintiffs requested that the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project be made public and that the local communities be consulted prior to the project’s commencement; the government had argued that the findings of the assessment were classified. They also demanded a legally binding agreement between local communities and Paladin requiring the company to protect their environment and health. The plaintiffs claimed that uranium mining would cause environmental degradation and pollution of local lakes and rivers, leading to groundwater contamination. The NGOs claimed that Malawi did not have appropriate laws in place to license or permit the mining of uranium in a safe manner.
The NGOs withdrew the case in November 2007 after reaching an out-of-court settlement with the company and the government. As part of the agreement, the Malawi Government agreed to enact new legislation regulating uranium mining and transportation prior to permitting Paladin’s uranium exploration to begin. The government also agreed to invest a portion of its revenues from the mine in the local community. Paladin's agreement with the government was amended to provide for additional investment in water treatment facilities for the Karonga district.
In August 2011, the Karonga Natural Resources Justice Committee petitioned the Malawi Government for access to information that would permit them to monitor the mining activities in the region for compliance with fundamental human rights and labour standards.
- “Karonga locals take on uranium miners”, Nyasa Times, 25 Aug 2011
- “Malawi’s Legal Battle over Uranium Mining Subsiding”, Gregory Gandwe, Ground Report, 20 Dec 2007
- “Activists drag Malawi government to court over uranium mining project”, APA News, 13 Jun 2007
- “Concerns Over Paladin Mine”, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 5 Apr 2007