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Namibia to quadruple uranium production

Material moving along
the crusher recycle
conveyor at Paladin’s
Langer Heinrich
uranium mine in
Namibia
 
Windhoek, Namibia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 December 2009 – The global search for alternatives to carbon-based energy has fuelled a rush for Namibia’s uranium resources at a time when the economic downturn has been taking a toll on the country’s vital diamond industry.

Reuters quotes analysts as saying that Namibia “’ currently the world’s fourth-largest uranium producer “’ is expected to more than quadruple uranium production over the next four to five years, boosting the country’s economic growth.

“It all depends on prices and demand, but the long-term fundamentals for Namibia’s uranium industry are solid and the global outlook for the nuclear power generation industry will be a driving factor for our industry,” said Investment House Namibia (IHN) analyst Luise Nakatana.

Namibia is home to the Rossing mine operated by Rio Tinto which, together with Paladin Energy’s Langer Heinrich operation, accounts for about 10% of world uranium production.

Reuters reports that both companies have aggressively expanded their operations in response to higher uranium prices and growing global demand for low-carbon energy sources. Other companies have been joining the exploration drive, with several new mines due to come on stream within the next five years.

Areva’s Trekkopje open-pit mine will become the country’s third uranium mine when it comes on stream in 2011, while Extract Resources’ lucrative Rossing South deposit is forecast to start producing in 2013.

Analysts are saying that within five years Namibia could easily be pushing for the number 2 or 3 uranium producer spot in the world.

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