Namibia to Build
Second Desalination Plant for Uranium Mines
By Chamwe Kaira
April 3 (Bloomberg) -- Namibia Water
Corp., the state-owned water utility,
plans to build a second desalination plant to cater for increasing
demand for water from existing and planned uranium mines.
The facility will be built on Namibia's Atlantic coastline at a cost of 1.5 billion
Namibian dollars ($192.1 million), Chief Executive Officer Vaino
Shivute told reporters today in the capital, Windhoek. The plant is
expected to be commissioned in 2010 and will have the capacity to pump
25 million cubic meters (6.6 billion gallons) of water a year.
``Due to pressure on groundwater sources, we
were directed by the government to construct a desalination plant,''
Shivute told journalists in Windhoek.
Namibia is Africa's biggest producer of uranium,
after Niger, according to the Web site of the Uranium
Information Centre.UraMin Inc., a unit of Areva SA, is will open the southern African nation's
biggest uranium mine in July, while Perth-based Bannerman
Resources Ltd. and
Vancouver-based Xemplar Energy
Corp. are among companies exploring for
the nuclear fuel in the country.
NamWater is already building a desalination
plant jointly with Uramin, which is expected to be commissioned at the
end of 2009. The facility will have the capacity to pump 20 million
cubic meters a year and serve Uramin's Trekkopje project.
``All capital and operational costs associated
with desalination and supply of desalinated water will be carried by
the mining companies, either by capital payment upfront or via water
tariffs,'' Shivute said.
Five More Mines
Demand from the existing mines, such as Rio Tinto Plc's Rossing Uranium mine and Paladin
Resources Ltd.'s Langer
Heinrich operation, and planned projects will increase water demand by
53 million cubic meters a year by 2015, Shivute said. Namibia currently
consumes 67 million cubic meters a year.
``Five more uranium mines are being planned
and if the current price of uranium holds, we expect them to be
commissioned by 2015,'' Shivute said
Toronto-based Forsys Metals
Corp. will commission its Valencia mine
in Namibia by September 2009, while Bannerman's mine, as well as
projects by Perth-based Extract
Resources Ltd. and West Australian
Metals Ltd., are scheduled to come on line in
2011. Deep Yellow Ltd. is expected to begin production in Namibia in
Uranium prices have fallen 49 percent to $71 a
pound since hitting a record $138 a pound on June 6 last year,
according to Metal Bulletin data.
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