21 May 2015 08:10am
WINDHOEK, 20 MAY (NAMPA) Swakop Uranium's billion-dollar Husab Mine is scheduled to start production in early 2016, with ramp-up to full production in 2017, Chamber of Mines president Werner Duvenhage says.
Speaking at the opening of the 36th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Chamber of Mines in Windhoek on Tuesday, Duvenhage said the construction of the mine is on track.
It is expected that about 6 000 people will be employed during its construction.
The N.dollars 24 billion mine is located about 60 kilometres (km) from Walvis Bay in the Erongo Region.
Over 1 200 people will be permanently employed at Husab Mine once it is fully operational.
Duvenhage indicated that the mine will produce about 6 800 tonnes of uranium oxide per annum, exceeding the current level of combined production from Namibia's two uranium mines the Rössing Uranium and Langer Heinrich mines.
He further noted that the mining industry experienced challenges in 2014, such as industrial action and retrenchment due to restructuring exercises.
He indicated that a Namdeb Diamond Corporation strike following a dispute on salary and benefit negotiations cost the company about N.dollars 10 million a day.
Of this amount, Government lost revenue of about N.dollars 8 million a day due to a two-week strike in August last year.
He further noted that more than 700 employees were retrenched in the mining industry due to restructuring processes at mines aimed at sustaining operations, avoiding the placement of mines on care and maintenance, or avoiding mine closures.
Duvenhage, who is also the Managing Director of Rössing Uranium, noted that Rössing retrenched 204 workers, while the Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation retrenched 120 workers and Okorusu Fluorspar 407.
The Okorusu Fluorspar employees were retrenched because of the mine management's decision to suspend mining operations on 28 October 2014.
This was because high grade ore at the mine was depleted and the remaining ore was no longer economic to mine.
Duvenhage however said about 30 employees were rehired on fixed-term contracts to carry on the care and maintenance of the mine, ongoing exploration and research and development.