Swakop uranium: promotion of uranium in “Husab” Mine begins in Namibia

This month the mining company, Swakop Uranium, will start uranium mining in the “Husab” uranium mine located on the west coast of Namibia, as reported by Zheng Keping, the managing director of Swakop Uranium. ((MINING.com, article dated 29.09.2016, accessed 10.10.2016)) The company is 90% owned by Taurus Minerals Ltd., a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned company Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC) Uranium Resources Co. Ltd. – just 10% of the company is held by the Namibian mining company Epangelo Mining, a state owned organisation. ((Namibian Uranium Association, accessed 10.10.2016))

With the commencement of activities to promote the radioactive heavy metal at the Husab mine, the uranium production in Namibia will be tripled between 2015 and 2017. ((AllAfrica, article dated 24.03.2016, accessed 10.10.2016)) At full production capacity 15 million tonnes per year will be produced, taking Namibia from sixth place to the third largest uranium producer in the world. ((The Namibian, article dated 29.09.2016, accessed 10.10.2016))

The mining of uranium in the West African nation is, however, severely criticized, as FACING FINANCE has reported in earlier articles. The negative environmental and health impacts of uranium mining were not only seen in the Namibian mine “Langer Heinrich”, ((FACING FINANCE, accessed 10.10.2016)) operated by the Australian mining company Paladin Energy, but also in Namibia’s largest uranium mine “Rössing”, which is 69% owned by the Rio Tinto mining group. ((FACING FINANCE, accessed 10.10.2016))

Against this backdrop, as well as the fact that the mining in the Namibian region of Erongo was accompanied by several demonstrations, in relation to issues such as unfair wages and working conditions, ((The Namibian, article dated 26.01.2015, accessed 10.10.2016)) the removal of water from groundwater stocks, ((Allgemeine Zeitung, article dated 08.02.2016, accessed 10.10.2016)) similar human rights and environmental aspects could well also surround the commissioning of Husab-Mine.