By Mia Pepper.
At the Paladin AGM in Perth November 17th, shareholders were met by protesters holding signs saying “SELL” reminding them that Paladin, is not only failing on human rights and environmental standards but their letting down their shareholders with a $123.4 million loss this year
Paladin congratulated themselves on the expansions at Kaylekera and Langer Heinrich and urged shareholders to stay with them as they are now set to increase production. Paladins Australian assets got a brief mention, with plans to develop the Manyingee deposit in Western Australia by 2013. Paladin are also pursuing the Oobagooma deposit in the Kimberley’s which is on Australian Defence Force land, they are currently negotiating with the State and Federal Governments for access to the site.
Paladin were held up on a number of questions from activist shareholders who raised issues around Paladin’s involvement in local politics in Malawi; including allegations of monthly payments to the President of Malawi and Paladin’s refusal to acknowledge the status of local culturally elected chiefs. Paladin were offended by these questions and reverted to bullying and insulting the people asking the questions.
The board and executive members who spoke were all adamant that the fall in their share price was due to ‘hysteria’ over Fukushima- ‘a natural disaster which showed how safe nuclear power really is’ and the Global Financial Crisis in Europe. They assured shareholders that the nuclear industry was robust and would bounce back in countries like India and the Middle-East. Despite these affirmations there was an onslaught of questions relating to executive salaries and a bullocking over the yearly losses.
In the coming year we can expect to see cost cuts at the operating level- a concern for an already lacking safety regime, sales of uranium from Africa to countries that are not signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, special deals with State and Federal Governments in Australia and last but not least a potential deal with AusAid to use Australian Aid money to deliver programs in Africa on behalf of the Australian Government.
In June 2011 SOMO and WISE released a report on uranium miners in Africa, the evidence on Paladin’s operations suggests there have been worker fatalities, inadequate safety equipment, dumping of contaminated water into community water supply and using local police to brutally suppress workers. Paladin like’s to portray itself as a pin up uranium miner but they should be strung up for their unconscionable corporate behaviour in Africa.