Kayerekera Uranium Mine, Malawiâ€™s largest mining investment, has earned the country $245 million (about K37 billion) since its inception in 2009.
The money, according to a government annual economic report, helps to beef up the countryâ€™s foreign earning reserves.
The report, by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, said Paladin Energy Limitedâ€”an Australian-based company that owns the Kayerekera mine â€”exported slightly over 1.7 million of uranium concentrates valued at $245 million.
Such a huge export sales entail the potential of the mining sector to emerge as a key source of foreign exchange earnings for Malawi in the wake of persisting challenges facing tobacco, the countryâ€™s major forex earner.
“The whole of this consignment was exported between January and December 2011 in 21 different consignments to Canada for energy generation,” said the report.
In 2011 alone, the blue print said Malawi earned approximately K309 million (about $1.2m at the current exchange rate) in royalties.
Paladin Energy Limited is subject to a royalty to the Malawi Government at a rate of 1.5 percent of its sales value for the first three years of production and 3 percent over the remaining life of the project.
The designed capacity of Paladin Energy Limited at Kayerekera Mine is to produce 3.3 million pounds (about 1 500 tonnes) of uranium concentrates or yellow cake per year.
The report said generally export minerals in 2011 by different mine operations continued to be dominated by coal, ornamental stones, gemstones and uranium concentrates.
It said during the year, a number of companies, both local and foreign, have continued to actively pursue intensive exploration for different minerals in various parts of the country.
“Generally, the year 2011 has experienced a boom in mining exploration activities compared to 2010 with a number of companies both local and foreign acquiring new exploration areas,” said the report.