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Namibia lifts moratorium on new uranium exploration applications

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- The Namibian government on Wednesday announced the lifting of a 10-year moratorium on new applications for exploration licences on nuclear fuel minerals.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy announced in a statement that it is withdrawing the reservation of any area in Namibia from any prospecting and mining operations in respect of nuclear fuel minerals.

The ministry did not give reasons why the moratorium had been lifted.

This came almost a year after the Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Kandjoze made a submission to Cabinet requesting to approve the removal of the moratorium.

The Chamber of Mines of Namibia had previously appealed to the Namibian government to lift the moratorium, saying it was counterproductive and closing doors to potential new investors in the uranium sector.

Before the ban, Namibia had emerged as a new frontier for uranium investors, with local and international companies alike rushing in with applications for uranium prospecting and mining in the country.

Namibia is home to the Chinese-invested Husab mine, one of the world’s largest uranium mine, which produced its first drum of uranium oxide in December.



Chinese-invested uranium mine in Namibia sets production goal

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- The Husab Uranium Mine in Namibia, one of China’s biggest single investment in Africa, will target production of 15 million pounds of U3O8 per year.

Beata Muteka, Brand Manager at Swakop Uranium’s Husab Mine, told Xinhua that the mine produced the first drum of uranium oxide on Dec. 30, 2016.

China General Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC) and other Chinese partners have a 90-percent share in the mine and the Namibian government-owned Epangelo Mining has 10 percent.

“The first production marks the successful operation of all sections of the operating chain, including the mine and all stages of the processing plant,” she said.

According to her, the plant will continue to be optimized in 2017, and the throughput will progressively be ramped up towards the target of 15 million pounds of U3O8 per year.

Muteka said construction of the processing plant was largely completed in the fourth quarter of 2016, and commissioning commenced immediately afterward.

Meanwhile, Muteka said, CGNPC has remained steadfast in its desire to see Husab become a reality despite difficult short-term uranium market conditions, and curtailment of projects and retrenchments elsewhere.

To date she said capital investment in the project exceeds 2 billion U.S. dollars and the company is set to be a significant contributor to the Namibia national revenue through royalties on sales and corporate taxes. 



Namibia’s mussel production area shut down again

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Mariculture farmers in Namibia are set to take a knock following a government decision to close the Walvis Bay Production Area for mussel harvesting.

Namibia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources on Monday said in a statement that mussel samples from the Walvis Bay Production Area were found to carry exorbitant levels of diarrhetic shellfish poison.

“Mussels grown in this area may not be harvested for direct human consumption, depuration or relaying, hence no farmer in this area is permitted to harvest mussels from this area,” said Permanent Secretary of Fisheries Moses Maurihungirire.

Maurihungirire also issued a warning to the public that it is unsafe to collect mussels until further notice from the ministry.

In June and September last year, the local mussel industry was also dealt a blow when the ministry shut down all outlets that sell mussels and oysters harvested from the Walvis Bay and Swakopmund areas as they were deemed unfit for consumption due to poisoning.




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