Namibia’s 3rd uranium mine ready in July

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Namibia’s 3rd uranium mine ready in July

Namibia’s third uranium mine, Treokkpje mine, will come on stream in July, with the company expecting to ship its first export in 2009, the local press reported Friday. Treokkpje, which is owned by UraMin, said about US$920 million would be pumped into Namibia’s 3rd uranium project to bring it into production. UraMin Managing Director Bert Leathely told a local business weekly, The Economist, that the company expected to produce 8.5 million pounds of uranium oxide and could largely surpass two existing mines in output. Namibia is home to Rio Tinto’s Rossing uranium mine, which has been in existence for three decades, while the Australian-owned Langer Heinrich has been in production since 2007. While Langer Heinrich has set an annual output target of 7 million pounds of uranium, Rossing produces 4,500 tonnes of yellow, accounting for about 8% of global uranium supply. Leathley said that UraMin was currently locked in negotiations with national power utility, NamPower, to secure a firm power supply arrangement for the new mine.

Last December, UraMin announced it had entered into an agreement with water utility Namwater to build a US$40 million sea water intake and a pipeline to bring water from the Atlantic Ocean to the mine. The water from the desalination plant would also be for residential use in the semi-arid Erongo region. When finally operational, Treokkpje could become one of the world’s 10 largest uranium producers. UraMin was bought by French nuclear giant, Areva, in 2007, and has uranium interests in Niger.

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