Just days after uranium miner Paladin Energy denied it discharged polluted water into a river, the company announced a tank failure at its Kayelekera mine has resulted in a spill.
Paladin told the ASX a 20-minnute high-intensity storm resulted in around 25mm of rain falling at the mine site, located in northern Malawi.
As a result, a surge of stormwater caused the liner in the plant run-off tank to rupture, releasing 500 cubic metres of material to the bunded areas of the site, the company said.
Up to 50 litres of the material “overtopped” one of the containment bunds.
“Following discovery of the damaged tank, the company immediately commenced protection and remediation procedures and the site remains secure,” Paladin said.
“A sampling program to analyse water from within the local stream system was also initiated to confirm no contamination occurred.”
The company said local non-government organisations and individuals openly hostile to the company had made false statements about toxic water being discharged into the river.
The company explained that while it did plan to commence the controlled release of surplus water into the local river system during the monsoonal wet season, the water would be treated to meet Malawi and internationally recognised discharge standards, including World Health Organisation drinking water guidelines for uranium content.
However Paladin said that relatively light and infrequent rainfall meant no water has been treated and released to date.
Kayelekera mine has been in care and maintenance since February 2014 due to the depressed price of uranium.