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Namibia pins hope China’s nuclear power appetite

Uranium mining activities significantly contribute to the development agenda of the government, Kornelia Shilunga deputy minister of Mines and Energy has revealed.

Shilunga said the mining sector – despite continuous low uranium prices – contributed about N$161 million in royalties, whilst N$1 billion was paid in wages and salaries in fiscal year 2016.

Speaking at the recently held Uranium International Conference organised by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) said his administration recognises that the uranium market has been depressed with serious implications for uranium mines

She attributed the plunge to strong public outcry against nuclear power generation, especially after the Fukushima event in Japan in 2011.

“However, great strides are being made in the generation of electrical power generation through alternative technologies, such as nuclear energy,” Shilunga said.

The deputy minister said there is a silver line following China’s decision to choose nuclear power.

China has embarked upon a major building programme of nuclear stations.

“This will eventually impact uranium prices in a way that will not only benefit our uranium industry” but the whole country, she said.

Meanwhile the country is also benefiting greatly from the N$2.8 billion sulphuric acid plant at Dundee Precious Metals smelter at Tsumeb.

The mines require huge volumes of sulphuric acid, which is being transported via rail.

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