Mutjavikua says sale of Rössing Uranium to CNUC a good idea

06 Jun 2019 12:50pm
SWAKOPMUND, 06 JUN (NAMPA) - Rio Tinto’s decision to sell the Rössing Uranium Mine to China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC) is a good idea as it would save hundreds of jobs, according to Erongo Region Cleophas Mutjavikua.
The governor said this while giving an update on the mining industry in Erongo during his state of the region address here on Wednesday.
“Unless there are any other investors willing to take over the mine for more, selling it to the Chinese company is the best option as we believe they would be able to retain its lifespan and our people will remain employed,” Mutjavikua said.
Rio Tinto has previously hinted at the accelerated closure of the mine by June 2020, should the Namibian Competition Commission decline the CNUC's offer to buy the mine.
Mutjavikua further said despite the huge influx of jobseekers to the region, Erongo is one of the regions with the lowest unemployment rates of less than 22 per cent, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency.
He also expressed satisfaction with the fact that although it is currently under care and maintenance, the Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine still employs 80 workers.
“An optimisation study has commenced this year for the optimal use of both high and low grade uranium. In addition, vanadium exploration studies are also ongoing at the mine to ensure another by-product when the mine resumes production,” he said.
Australia’s Paladin Energy, which owns Langer Heinrich Mine, recently announced about N.dollars 1 billion would be required to revive the mine.
The Namibia Zinc and Lead Mine just outside Arandis is also expected to employ close to 300 people during its construction and about 150 for production, once the mine has been commissioned.