Biggest Uranium Mine (Source: Namibia Economist)

Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

15 February 2008
Posted to the web 15 February 2008

By Chamwe Kaira

UraMin will open its uranium mine at Trekkopje in July, Managing Director Bert Leathley said this week. The firm expects to export its first yellow cake at the end of 2009 through Walvis Bay, Leathley told the Economist. He said US$920 million will be spent on capital expenses to bring the mine into production. The company expects to produce 8.5 million pounds of uranium oxide per year, making it Namibia's biggest uranium mine.

Leathley however said that the export markets for the uranium oxide were yet to be confirmed.

The firm was currently in discussions with NamPower over power supply, he said. NamPower is faced with a deficit in supply and recent press reports have indicated that power supply to new mines may only be available in 2009.

Leathley also said the desalination plant, which is being jointly built with NamWater, will be completed in the second quarter of next year. The first stage is an N$250 million seawater intake and a pipeline to bring the water from the Atlantic Ocean to the shore three kilometres north of Wlotzkasbaken.

The second is an US$110 million desalination plant for UraMin, and a second one for NamWater costing approximately the same amount.

He said a decision on whether the company will list on the Namibia Stock Exchange, like other uranium companies, has not been taken. Xemplar, Forsys, Deep Yellow and Paladin Energy have all listed in the country.

The company's 100%-owned and 129,000-hectare Trekkopje Project is located about 65 km north-east of Swakopmund.

The project has an estimated resource of 502 million tonnes of uranium oxide at a grade of 0.013%. Trekkopje is expected to become one of the world's 10 largest uranium mines when it achieves production, and will also be one of the top five low-cost, open pit uranium operations.

UraMin is a subsidiary of Areva, the French mega nuclear reactor builder.

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