CORRECTION: Water supply to Erongo mines secure for 20 years

03 Mar 2016 16:50pm
REPLACING “billion” WITH “million” IN FOURTH PARA.

SWAKOPMUND, 03 MAR (NAMPA) - The supply of water to Uranium mines in Erongo Region is safe for the next 20 years and any water shortage in other regions will not affect operations at these mines.
This was confirmed to Nampa by the management of the Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine, Rössing Uranium and Swakop Uranium’s Husab mine after enquiries on how secure the water supply to the mines is considering the countrywide drought.
In his response on Friday, Managing Director of Rossing, Werner Duvenhage noted that since 2013, all mines in Erongo started using desalinated water from the Areva desalination plant situated at Wlotzkasbaken between Swakopmund and Henties Bay.
“If we talk about availability of water, this plant has 20 million cubic metres, so I think we have enough water for the mines. This will also mean the water supply to Rossing is safe for the next 20 years and beyond.”
Langer Heinrich’s Managing Director Simon Solomons on Tuesday said the mine obtains its water from two sources, mostly from the Areva desalination plant via NamWater and a minor amount from its own pumping and pipeline facilities along the nearby Swakop River.
“The current central regions’ water shortage is not seen to have any significant impact on Langer Heinrich operations. The Areva desalination plant water is seen as a reliable long term supply, over 20 years, which should suffice the operational life of Langer Heinrich.”
Vice-President of Human Resources and Business Support at Swakop Uranium, Percy McCallum on Friday said Swakop Uranium has a water supply agreement with NamWater to administer and supply the mine with water from the Wlotzkasbaken desalination plant.
He said the current supply of water from the desalination plant is sufficient to meet the operating mines water needs in Erongo.
“In the event that the required supply of water is affected, an alternative supply from the Swakop River will augment as a supplementary, and as approved by the Government in terms of water extraction.”
He added that NamWater recently commissioned a new pipeline to guarantee the supply of water for the next 20 years from the desalination plant to the Swakopmund reservoir for further distribution to customers.
“Both NamWater and Swakop Uranium have a healthy relationship and both parties are committed to the supply of water agreement to the mine.”
On 03 December 2015, the City of Windhoek (CoW) officially declared a water crisis due to a lack of rainfall, subsequent low dam levels, high water demand, and water wastage.
The CoW also said taps will run dry by August 2016 if the low rainfall continues.
In addition, Namibia’s national water utility, NamWater, announced last month a 20 per cent reduction in water supply to Windhoek in effort to postpone the run-dry date of supply dams from August 2016 to April 2017.
The reduction came into effect on 01 March 2016, as the corporation is experiencing a critically poor inflow into its three dams supplying water to Windhoek.
The dams are Omatako, Swakoppoort and Von Bach.