Husab to feed the Chinese market

26 May 2014 22:00

Swakop Uranium Vice President Deon Gerbers has revealed that their newly established Husab Mine will solely supply its uranium to China upon commencing full production.
Gerbers also revealed to The Villager in an exclusive interview on the sidewalks of the Mining Conference last week that, “The main reason the Swakop Uranium production will be exported to China is because China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN), one of the nuclear power station producers in China holds 25 nuclear power units in China that needs supplies, thus this create a certainty for our uranium market.”
The uranium prices have fluctuated throughout 2013 reaching an eight year low in September at U$34 per pound (Approximately N$340) and at the beginning of the 2014 stood around U$ 35 per Pound (Approximately N$350) and by end March stood at U$34.7 per pound which is 18 %lower than a year ago. By the end of last week it was at a lowest US$28 (Approximately N$280) per Pound.
He noted that 10 of those power units are in operation while 15 other nuclear generating units are currently under construction involving a total capacity of 18 800MWe.
By end of December 2013, the installed capacity of GCN’S operating units in China had reached 8 330 MWe while Namibia in total is 600MWe.
In addition, GCN owns an installed capacity of 4 350MWe for wind power generators in operation, a total capacity of 600MWe for solar photovoltaic power, and a controlling equity capacity of 1 470MWe for hydro power.
He added that the main shareholders mainly GCN jointly with the Hong Kong based Taurus Mineral limited with 90% have chosen to invest in Namibia due to its political stability, strong infrastructure and know that their investment is secure especially following the support they have been given by Government.
The remaining 10% of shares are held by the Namibian Government owned Epangelo Mining Company. At its launch the Government acknowledged the importance of such an investment as it makes the country, one of the biggest uranium producing countries in the world and is meant to contribute about 6% to Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
 The processing plan to be commissioned by the fourth quarter of 2015 is to contribute N$1.1b to  N$1.7b in corporate tax including N$220m in royalties. It will further add an additional N$7b per annum to the Namibian export.
They invested about N$410m in the construction of the constructors’ village with 1000 residents currently while it has a capacity of 4000. Garber notes that they will be creating an incentive for the workers to be able to own those houses afterwards, especially In Arandis area.
As presented at  last week mining conference, beside Swakop Uranium, even the other mining plants in construction have made provision for housing for the employees with possibilities of them becoming the owners at the end.
The Otjikoto mine owned by B2 gold has secured about 60 semi serviced land in Otavi and is busy developing home ownership schemes with multiple banks. With an investment of N$ 2b, it is to become the second gold mine with production expected at the end of this year.
The Dundee Precious Metals (DPM) Tsumeb has invested over N$ 70m for a construction project of 100 houses.
DPM vice president and general manager Hans Nolte noted the sulphuric acid plant expected to produce 340 000 tonnes per annum has recently encountered delays in its construction due to heavy rains during February and March as well as of operational interferences.
He however added that, “The engineering design has been completed 95% and the mechanical completion of Acid plant is scheduled for the fourth quarter (Q4) of this year, while the hot and cold commissioning is scheduled during Q1 2015 as well as the mechanical completion of new converters. The acid plant is expected to be at full production by second quarter of 2015.”
Amongst the new development under construction is also the Tschudi Copper Mine which will be producing copper cathode for an initial mine life of 11 years. Its initial investment to first copper production is of N$ 800m. It is on schedule for copper production in Q2 2015.
As the mining sector contracted in 2013, with its contribution to GDP dropping by 9.3% from 10.8% in 2012, the Chamber of Mines expects the mining sector to grow phenomenally once  the new mines comes into full production.