Namibia now world's second largest uranium oxide producer

June 12, 2022

Namibia is now the second largest producer of uranium oxide after Kazakhstan, surpassing both Australia and Canada, Rossing Uranium Managing Director Johan Coetzee has revealed.

This comes as the uranium miner, in total, produced 2,882 tonnes of uranium oxide in 2021, which is 393 tonnes (16%) more than the 2020 production.

“Our production, together with the production of Swakop Uranium, meant that Namibia has now surpassed both Australia and Canada to become the world’s second largest primary producer of U3O8 , after Kazakhstan, which continues to dominate the market from a supply side,” Coetzee said during the launch of the company’s latest report to stakeholders.

“Namibia has two significant uranium mines (Rossing Uranium and Swakop Uranium, after the Langer Heinrich Uranium mine was placed on care and maintenance during 2018), which together provide 12% of the world’s uranium oxide output; in 2021 Rossing Uranium produced 5.1% of the world’s output.”

Coetzee said despite sales volume being 11% higher than in 2020, revenue was 6% lower at N$4.26 billion due to the impact of a stronger Namibian dollar against the US dollar.

“Rossing Uranium currently sells a portion of its product into an existing long-term contract portfolio, and the remaining available production was sold to the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) Group. In 2021, 76% sales volume were delivered to Asia, of which 90% were sold to the majority shareholder CNUC/CNNC. The remaining 26% sales volume was delivered under the long-term contract portfolio to North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” he said.

Rossing’s total spend for the period under review amounted to N$3.01 billion, compared to the N$2.77billion spend in 2020, with the bulk of goods acquired from local suppliers.

“As during previous years, most of the procurement expenditure was on local suppliers, amounting to N$2.25 billion or 75% of total procurement expenditure. 14% of procurement spend went to South Africa, whilst the remaining 11% was spent internationally,” he said.

The miner paid the Government N$111 million in royalty tax, and N$167 million as pay-as-you-earn tax on behalf of employees for the period.

“Payments to public enterprises such as NamWater and NamPower amounted to N$464.2 million. This amount includes a total of N$8 million that was paid as the Vocational and Training levy,” Coetzee said.

He said the company was currenting working on a feasibility study to extend its Current Life of Mine (LoME) from 2026, which is expected to be complete by year end or early next year.

“In November 2020, the Board of Directors approved funds to complete a bankable feasibility study for extending the life-of-mine beyond 2026. This is underpinned by a north-eastern extension of our existing open pit, referred to as the Phase 4 pushback, which can provide sufficient ore to continue production for another 10+ years. Work on the LoME project is progressing well and the final report and recommendations will inform an investment decision by end 2022 or early 2023,” Coetzee said.

The Rossing Mining MD said parallel to the LoME project, the company had invested in the upgrade of existing facilities to ensure the continued safe and efficient production of uranium oxide

“A total of 48 major engineering projects were undertaken during 2021, the biggest being the construction of an additional 60,000m3 fresh water storage capacity at a cost of just over N$100 million. A total of N$204 million was invested in these 48 projects,” he said.

Rossing Uranium mine, which celebrated 45 years of production last year, has a nameplate capacity of 4,500 tonnes of uranium oxide per year and, by the end of 2021, had supplied a total of 142,908 tonnes of uranium oxide to the world.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 June 2022 23:44