Preview a video on the labor, health and ecological costs of uranium mining in Malawi, Africa. Presented at the Tanzania Uranium Awareness Conference “Uranium mining and nuclear power: Tanzanian future?” Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, November 2009.
Also, the video was previewed in presentation called “Uranium Labor and Political Geography of Health in Malawi,” Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (aag.org), Seattle, April 2011.
Marty Otañez, Producer
Assistant Professor, Anthropology Department, University of Colorado, Denver
Below is the abstract for the presentation “Uranium Labor and Political Geography of Health in Malawi”
The presentation illuminates uranium companies use of socio-ecological responsibility schemes to deny living wages and adequate health conditions among uranium mine workers in Malawi. Also, the presentation promotes scholarly video as a vehicle to counter green authoritative knowledge of extractive industries. Malawi derives seventy percent of its revenue from tobacco growing and until recently had little or no plans to diversify. In 2009, Paladin, an Australian uranium mining company, opened the Kayelekera uranium mine in Karonga. Kayelekera represent activities of the Malawian state to reduce its economic reliance on tobacco, while moving from one toxic commodity to another. The mine is a window to critically view the role of water projects, school construction schemes and other corporate benevolent activities to undermine uranium workers' labor and health rights claims. Paladin resists workers' claims suggesting to its workforce and the public that the company-funded social and environmental schemes in nearby villages contribute to sustainable development. Mine workers and their emerging relationships with global labor and ecological justice groups are building linkages to improve employment conditions and reconsider the association of yellowcake and the nuclear energy created through yellowcake with sustainability and development. Ethnographic data analysis and videography are methods used in the presentation. The presentation concludes that uranium mining in Malawi is an emerging global focal point for advocacy for alternatives to sustainability defined by extractive industries. Yellowcake sourced in Malawi is indicative of the global uranium mining sector that scholars and community members intervene through video to reduce corporate control.