By Sarah Muthali
A Russian company, Rosatom, Friday met President Arthur Peter Mutharika to discuss possibilities of the construction of peaceful nuclear power plants to help in energy and agriculture sectors in Malawi.
In an interview after meeting President Mutharika at Radisson Rosa Khutor Hotel in Sochi, Russia, Chief Executive Officer for Rosatom Central and Southern Africa (PTY) Limited Dmitry Shornikov said the company is planning to visit Malawi to begin discussions.
He said the discussions will be on hydro power, nuclear medicine and technologies for agriculture solutions, among other things.
“We were honoured to meet President Mutharika and cooperate with Malawi on the energy sector.
“We will be in Malawi soon and our mission will involve discussing these areas of the cooperation in detail and establishing the first priorities and first steps that should be completed,” he said.
Shornikov also said the company is also interested in uranium mining in Malawi and, as part of the mission and cooperation in Malawi, the company will be evaluating the possibilities of starting uranium mining projects.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila said the audience held by President Mutharika and Rosatom is a positive development in improving the energy sector in the country.
“During the audience with the President, Rosatom assured us that they will assist us in possible ways of improving hydro-electricity generation such as replacing old turbines with new and efficient ones,” Kasaila said.
Malawi has been grappling with inadequate generation of electricity as the supply is less than the demand due to generation challenges. So the coming in of the Russian company would give hope to the country’s energy sector.
Kasaila further said the company is also interested in mining rare earth like the one in Phalombe and graphite and bring in more Russian companies which deal in gas.
“Soon after the return of the President, the company will assign officials that will visit Malawi so that they can engage us at country level to look at these sectors in detail and the available prospects,” he said.
Rosatom is a Russian State-owned nuclear energy corporation and a nuclear monopolist in the transcontinental country of Eastern Europe and North Asia.
It has 360 companies under its umbrella. It produces 19 gigawatts of electric power in Russia which constitutes about 19 percent of the whole energy mix of the country.
Russia controls 19 per cent of global uranium market as well as 30 per cent global uranium enrichment market.
The company has a nuclear research project in Zambia and has just signed an agreement to start the project in Rwanda and other African countries. Mutharika was in Sochi, Russia to attend the first-ever Russia-Africa summit and was accompanied by Kasaila, Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha and Minister of Trade Salim Bagus