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SA may restrict uranium exports

South Africa’s Koeberg
nuclear power station –
the only one in Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 November 2008 – South Africa has included a provision in its nuclear policy to restrict uranium exports in order to satisfy local demand, but the government has no specific plans yet on when and how it would bring this provision into operation.

Reporting from here, Reuters quotes minerals and energy ministry spokesman Bheki Khumalo as saying: “We have a policy that gives us the instruments to restrict the export of uranium so that we can satisfy local demand first.”

He pointed out, however, that the matter was not on the table at this stage. “There is no current government position on the issue, and the government is not discussing it at the moment, “he added.

Khumalo did not elaborate on what conditions would necessitate invoking the provision.

Reuters points out that South Africa has had power shortages this year as state utility Eskom struggled to supply growing demand for electricity in Africa’s biggest economy.

Nuclear energy has been identified one way of increasing Eskom’s power capacity, diversifying energy sources and reducing reliability on coal, which is used to generate most of Eskom’s power supply.

South Africa, which has Africa’s largest uranium reserves, has categorised uranium as a critical mineral.