30 Jul 2016 20:50pm
HUSAB, 30 JUL (NAMPA) - Swakop Uranium is expecting a shortfall in the water supply at Husab uranium mine as the project nears completion.
Between ourselves, Areva Namibia and NamWater we face a challenge to provide sufficient water to meet our needs in the near term, Swakop Uranium Chief Executive Officer Zheng Keping announced on Friday.
He was briefing Prime Minister (PM) Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on the challenges and progress of the project during her first familiarisation visit to the mine.
This year is very important for the project as we expect the commissioning of the mine. So the water challenge puts us in a difficult position, he noted.
Zheng said as more and more phases are added to the project, the water supply becomes critical and they expect a shortfall in the next few months.
He said upgrades done to the Areva desalination plant to enable it to meet its water demand are not expected to be completed before November this year.
He explained that the Husab processing plant, which was partly destroyed by fire last year, is 99 per cent complete and will be commissioned in a few months time.
We are ready to support NamWater and its stakeholders in meeting our water supply. We will continue to update you (PM) on our progress and any obstacle we might face during the process, Zheng said.
On achievements, he said there are currently 4 500 temporary workers, mostly women, and more than 1 300 permanent employees. They target to employ 2 000 permanent employees once full production starts at the mine.
The company has awarded 15 bursaries to Namibian students and employed all of them.
We spend N.dollars 191 million on technical training of operators and artisans to make them experts in these fields, said the CEO.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila commended the company for creating employment and contributing to skills development in the country.
As we all know, Namibia is faced with high unmployment figures and it is therefore commendable that the private sector and investors are employing our people, she said.
The PM said perceptions from the private sector that skills development only benefits Government is not true, as well-trained staff can work for any company.
We therefore need to work together in providing the necessary skills to the people to increase their chances of getting jobs and alleviate poverty, she urged.
Overall, the premier said, she is happy with the progress of the project as well its contribution to economic growth in the country.