01 Dec 2018 18:20pm
WINDHOEK, 01 DEC (NAMPA) The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) has not yet received the agreement on the sale of the Rio Tinto shares in Rössing Uranium Mine in which Government has a stake.
A statement issued on Friday by Permanent Secretary, Simeon Negumbo said the ministry could not speculate on any conditions that may be imposed on the transaction until it had studied the agreement and subjected it to the relevant laws.
Rio Tinto entered into a binding agreement with China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC) for the sale of Rio Tintos entire 68,62 per cent stake in the Rössing mine in Namibia.
Rio Tinto is an Anglo-Australian international company and one of the worlds largest metals and mining corporations, whereas Rössing is one of the largest open-pit uranium mines in the world.
The company announced in a media release on Monday that the shares had been sold for up to U.S. dollar 106.5 million (over N.dollars 1.4 billion), which comprises an initial cash payment of about N.dollars 90 million, payable at completion and a contingent payment of over N.dollars 1.3 billion following completion.
The Namibian government owns 3,42 per cent of shares in the uranium mine, while the other shareholders, Iranian Foreign Investment Company owns 15,29 per cent; Industrial Development Company of South Africa 10,22 per cent and other minority shareholders 2,45 per cent.
Negumbo stated that Rio Tinto had indicated to its shareholders that it had intentions to sell its 68,62 per cent stake of the company and to exit the business and that the MME was informed last year of the negotiations between Rio Tinto and CNUC for the purchase of its shares.
Negumbo also pointed out that Rossing Uranium Limited (the company or the mine) is not entirely being sold to the CNUC as the reports appear to imply.
If Rio Tintos shares are sold, the other shareholders mentioned above will still be part owners of the company, he said.
He added that the sale was a private share transaction between the two parties and was subject to certain Government approvals which include the MME and the Namibian Competition Commission.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.
Meanwhile, the mine will continue operating under its existing and planned programmes until otherwise informed by the board of directors or management of Rössing Uranium Limited, according to the company.