Bannerman Resources, which has plans to develop the Etango uranium project in the Erongo Region, has engaged Rand Merchant Bank to undertake a process to identify local investors and broad-based beneficiaries to meet the 5% Namibian equity ownership requirement, the company said in a report posted on the Namibian Stock Exchange.
The government has said mining companies will be compelled to have stakes reserved for empowerment groups before the issuing or renewing of prospecting and mining licences as part of an empowerment drive to bring about equality.
In July, the ministry of mines announced that it planned to refuse the application for the Etango project mining licence, which was applied for in December 2009, citing the current low uranium price.
The ministry’s decision was not unexpected, and Bannerman retains the right to reapply for a mining licence when the uranium market recovers, the company said.
The company has since applied for a Mineral Deposit Retention Licence over the portion of EPL3345 that would be required for the proposed Etango mine.
The ministry of environment and tourism first granted Bannerman an environmental clearance for the Etango Project in 2010.
Commenting on the uranium market, the company said it has appointed key advisers, Nuclear Fuel Associates LLC and Fivemark Partners, to strengthen its strategic, uranium marketing and project financing capabilities.
“The engagement of these advisers is directed at ensuring that Bannerman advances product marketing and project financing initiatives for its 100%-owned Etango Uranium Project through the current trough in uranium market conditions. The company considers this critical in maintaining and capitalising on its advanced project status and early mover advantage in the global uranium development sector,” the company said.
The company further noted that nuclear power plant construction milestones were reached in a number of countries during the September quarter. China’s nuclear construction programme continues to gain momentum, with a further reactor connected to the grid.
In addition, Russia connected a reactor to the grid, whilst both India and Pakistan commissioned new reactors.
In the UK, the government approved the construction of two large reactors. Russia announced in August that it would construct 11 new reactors domestically by 2030. Bannerman has reached an agreement to sell and lease back its office premises in Swakopmund, Namibia. The sale will generate net cash in excess of N$5,3 million.
The Etango project is one of the world’s largest undeveloped uranium projects. Based on a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), production is expected to be 7-9 million pounds of uranium oxide per year for the first five years, and 6-8 million pounds per year thereafter. It will have a minimum mine life of 16 years, with significant expansion potential through the conversion of existing Inferred Resource as well as the deposit being open at depth and along strike.