BLANTYRE--The Kayekelera uranium mine in Karonga, which is operated by Paladin Energy Limited of Australia, lost K39 billion in nine months of operation ending March 2012 due to fluctuating prices of the commodity on the international market, the company's top official has said.
Greg Walker, general manager for international affairs, told the Daily Times Business that the loss was a result of the historic earthquake in Japan that produced a Tsunami in March last year.
The earthquake led to the suspension of the nuclear power production in that country.
Spot price for uranium oxide dropped from $75 (some K21, 000) to $47.50 (K13, 000) after the closure of Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
Walker said now the price is at $49.50 -K14,000 - saying this was below the direct cost of production at Kayelekera, the country's biggest investment.
Walket told the daily that Paladin have bankrolled $145 million--K41 billion- to keep the mine afloat and Malawians in employment.
"Contrary to popular misconception, money is not flowing out of Malawi--it is still flowing in," he was quoted as saying.
The government of Malawi has a 15 percent stake in the mine.
Recently, Malawians have called for the government to increase its shares and re-negotiate the contract.
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.