HomeBase MetalsAreva to ease Namibian water shortage

Areva to ease Namibian water shortage

Drill crew at work
at Areva’s Trekkopje
mine in Namibia
Trekkopje Mine, Namibia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 April, 2010 – Areva SA “’ the world’s largest producer of nuclear reactors “’ plans to ease a water shortage in Namibia by offering excess supplies from its desalination plant to other companies operating in the country’s uranium belt.

Paris-based Areva will be able to supply about 6 million cubic meters of treated water a year to other miners in Namibia’s Erongo region, said CEO Anne Lauvergeon at the plant’s opening here.

Bloomberg News reports that the recent growth in uranium activities in Namibia has boosted water demand in the Erongo region, near the Namib Desert, and stretched the nation’s limited resources.

Rainfall in the region doesn’t meet the daily freshwater requirement of 35 000 cubic meters, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Water to augment supplies in the region is currently being pumped from the Omdel aquifer, which the ministry says has reached its maximum sustainable yield.

The desalination plant at Areva’s Trekkopje mine, about 280 kilometers west of Windhoek, will produce 20 million cubic meters of water a year.
Namwater “’ Namibia’s state-owned water supplier “’ will be able to buy the excess water to supply other mines, ensuring that a shortage doesn’t harm uranium production, Lauvergoen said. Rio Tinto Plc’s Rossing mine and Paladin Energy Limited’s Langer Heinrich mine are the two largest uranium operations currently in production in Namibia.

Output at Areva’s Trekkopje mine is expected to start in 2012, with an initial output of 3 000 metric tonnes of uranium ore a year, according to the company.