Friday, February 5, 2010

India, Malawi to finalise MoU on mineral resources

india and Malawi on Friday explored the possibility of entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of the southern African nation’s mineral resources, particularly uranium and coal.

Though Malawian Vice-President Joyce Banda specifically sought India’s assistance in the development of its recently discovered uranium sources, the Indian delegation, led by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, remained non-committal as Malawi made it clear that it primarily wanted India’s help in generating energy out of its resources.

A joint communique issued later in the day said the two sides agreed to expedite negotiations to finalise the MoU.

Asked about the kind of help Malawi wanted from India vis-À-vis development of uranium, Ms. Banda said energy security was of paramount importance to her country. “Mining of uranium is just a component in energy generation and we are trying to use all sources, including uranium, water, wind and coal for this.”

The discovery of uranium in Malawi a few years back has drawn considerable world attention and recent years have seen several countries open diplomatic missions there. Large-scale mining of uranium is yet to be developed, with uranium production beginning as recently as September 2009 at the Kayelekara mine owned by Paladin Energy of Australia.

India is seeking a foothold in Malawi’s energy sector on the strength of its historic ties with this former British colony, and Mr. Ansari’s visit, according to External Affairs Ministry officials, reflected the “enormous fund of goodwill Malawi has for India.”

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