WINDHOEK, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Namibia will see more mines reopening amid rising prices of uranium, the fuel used to produce nuclear energy.
The Chamber of Mines of Namibia (CoM), which is responsible for the stewardship of mining and exploration in the country, has said that the country "must be clear and unequivocal in its quest to promote Namibia as a preferred source and producer of uranium."
In its newsletter availed Tuesday, the chamber also emphasized integrating uranium into Namibia's green hydrogen plans.
"Uranium has long been neglected despite its relevance in a carbon-free or green energy future. Green hydrogen has been exclusively singled out as a national strategy on energy transition but the conversation should be expanded to include the exploitation of uranium which is a significant clean energy source," said the member-based organization.
The CoM further highlighted the need to adopt a policy that would fast-track the exploitation of the resource to attract foreign direct investment and create much-needed jobs in the mining industry.
Namibia is the second-largest producer of uranium but also holds the 7th largest resource of Uranium. Its Rossing Uranium and Swakop Uranium are the main producers in Namibia and have accounted for 6,784 tonnes of uranium production in 2021.
Up to four mines, however, have been placed on care and maintenance due to low uranium prices. Langer Heinrich Uranium, for instance, was placed on care and maintenance in 2018. At its peak, Langer Heinrich employed around 500 permanent employees and produced 2,000 tonnes of uranium a year.
"Due to improved uranium prices, Paladin Energy has now secured funding to restart Langer Heinrich by 2023, with an LoM (Life of Mine) of 17 years," the CoM said.
Another earmarked project is the Bannerman Resources' Etango project, which could potentially become the second biggest uranium mine after Swakop Uranium due to its large shallow resource base, according to the CoM.
Bannerman will complete the bankable feasibility of its scaled-down Etango-8 project in September 2022 and could signal the construction and start of the mine, the CoM concluded. ■