mining company, China General Nuclear Power Holding Corp (CGN), has started mining for uranium at Husab, near Swakopmund in western-central Namibia.

CGNPC has invested $2 billion into the Husab Uranium mine and it is so far China’s largest investment in Namibia. It also has the potential to produce 15 million pounds of uranium oxide when fully operational.

“We have been clearing the overburden of sand and we will start mining ore from May onwards, we expect to have stockpiled one million tons of ore by December,” said Percy McCallum spokesman for CGNPC’s Namibia

Uranium from mining is used almost entirely as fuel for nuclear power plants. In 2011, Namibia was ranked as the 4th largest producer of uranium worldwide, behind Kazakhstan, Canada, and Australia.

However, when Uranium prices fell after the Fukushima incident, Namibian production was reduced. In 2012, it produced 7.1 percent of Uranium oxide worldwide, trailing behind West African counterpart Niger.

Uranium mineralization was first discovered in the Namibia’s Rossing Mountains, Namib Desert, in 1928 by Capt. G. Peter Louw. Uranium exploration official started in 1960s in Namibia with Rio Tinto obtaining exploration rights for the Rössing deposit in 1966. It started production in 1976.

The Rössing Uranium Mine in Namibia is the longest-running and one of the largest open pit uranium mines in the world and is located in the Namib Desert near the town of Arandis, which is 70 kilometres from the coastal town of Swakopund.

By George Mpofu

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