AREVA not cashing in on desalination plant: Mbako

30 May 2016 18:00pm
WLOTZKASBAKEN, 30 MAY (NAMPA) – Areva Resources Namibia does not intend making a large profit from selling the Erongo desalination plant to the Namibian Government.
Country Manager of Areva Resources Hilifa Mbako on Monday said negotiations with Government is complete and the company tabled the selling price of about N.dollars 3 billion (US.dollars 200 million).
“We are just waiting for Government to give us a counter offer,” he told reporters at a media day held at the plant, located some 30 kilometres north of Swakopmund on the way to Henties Bay.
The company aims to recover capital invested in setting up the facility.
Hilifa said the plant is the first answer to the water scarcity in the country.
“Imagine the catastrophe we would have experienced in the Erongo Region if this desalination plant was not here.”
The Rossing Uranium mine, Swakop Uranium Husab mine and Langer Heinrich Uranium mine all receive water from the 20 million cubic metres desalination plant through national utility NamWater.
“The plant has a capacity to increase water supply to 25 million or 45 million cubic metres maximum. So this is the answer to the water shortage which affects business in this country.”
Areva also celebrated six years of no injuries at the desalination plant, where 29 Namibians are currently employed.
Meanwhile, asked if Areva ever thought of selling the Trekkopje Uranium mine that was closed in 2013 due to the fall in uranium prices on the international market, Mbako said the mine is not for sale.
The price of uranium currently stands at about US.dollars 35 per pound, and Mbako said they remain confident that once the price reaches US.dollars 70 per pound, mining at Trekkopje will resume.
Since its closure in 2013, N.dollars 1 million per year has been put in place for care, maintenance and employees’ salaries.
“We have hope that the uranium price will recover very soon and the mine will start operating again, so we will renew the N.dollars 1 million budget for the next three years.”
The total investment for both the plant and mine was US.dollars 1 billion when the facilities opened in 2012.
Currently, the investment stands at approximately N.dollars 15 billion.