Rössing forks out 20 million for cancer research

27 Feb 2016 16:22pm
SWAKOPMUND, 27 FEB (NAMPA) - Rössing Uranium Limited has invested approximately N.dollars 20 million in an epidemiology study to determine whether there is cancer risks for uranium workers at its mine in the Erongo Region.
The mine is located 10 kilometres south of Arandis and is the oldest uranium mine in the country at 40 years.
The company’s Managing Director Werner Duvenhage on Friday provided the media here with an update on the progress of this health study that started in August 2015.
He said Rössing is conducting the study to have scientific proof which will help the company shake off critics and allegations that former employees could have been exposed to radiation, dust and other substances at work and died of cancers and other unexplained illnesses.
It is expected to be completed in April 2018 by the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health (Epidemiology) and Biostatistics under the Institute of Population Health at the University of Manchester, England.
“It will be a scientifically reviewed and proven study; this is important because if we need to defend ourselves against allegations, we have concrete proof.”
Duvenhage said it is important that former and current employees and the public are updated on the progress of the study.
Asked by Nampa whether Rössing will take responsibility should it turn out that some former workers died of cancer as a result of radiation exposure, he said such a question will only be answered when the result of the study is available.
“For now, we want to determine if there is a link between the alleged cancer deaths and occupational exposure,” said the managing director.
He said the study will include 12 000 former and current Rössing employees, who started working between 1976 and 2010, plus those who worked at the mine for more than one year.
The study has been approved by the Ministry of Health and Social Services while the Namibian Cancer Registry agreed to provide support.