The government’s surprise announcement that it will build its own desalination plant has not dissuaded French uranium miner Areva that its Erongo Desalination Plant may in fact not be a good buy. This follows protracted negotiations between the two parties for the sale of the desalination plant.
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Hon. John Mutorwa recently said that the government would not buy the desalination plant, announcing the decision at a stakeholder engagement held at the coast. Speaking at that occasion, Mutorwa was quoted as saying, “We decided that before going public, we should first tell Areva’s leaders of our decision and convey it to them in person.”
Mutorwa did however state in the consultative meeting that the government’s relationship with Areva would continue adding that the government planned to build its own desalination plant within two years and labelled desalination a non-debatable option.
Whatever the government’s intentions are for not going ahead with the purchase of the plant may still present itself. Areva on the other hand however insist that its desalination plant is a good buy. Speaking to its spokesperson Sugnet Smit who responded via e-mail, Areva said recently, “the Erongo desalination plant is an extremely efficient asset, equipped with state-of-the-art reverse osmosis technology. A lot of the necessary costs, including the entire water intake infrastructure, were already incurred at construction stage to allow for an eventual capacity of up to 45m cm per annum.”
Areva added, “when this is compared to the total current water demand in Namibia of approximately. 75 to 80 million cubic metres per annum, it is clear that the plant has the potential to address most of the future water demand increase in the Erongo coastal regions, and beyond, producing water at very competitive prices as capacity utilization increases.