HOME   WISE Uranium Project   >   Mining & Milling   >   Issues   >   Operating Issues - Africa   >

Issues at Operating Uranium Mines and Mills - Namibia   flag

(last updated 2 Apr 2024)



(map adapted from 'Namibia 14 regions.svg' by Barada-nikto,
Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Site Index

General · Rössing · Langer Heinrich · Husab

> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Decommissioning Projects · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning


Husab and Rössing uranium mines plagued by inconsistent desalinated water supply

Swakop Uranium Mine says it has lost N$1.9 billion [US$ 103 million] over the past two years because of a French state-owned nuclear company's inconsistent water supply. This mine is not the only one complaining. Rössing Uranium is also experiencing irregular water supply from the Orano Desalination Plant, which purifies sea water. Both mines are owned by the Chinese government, and both buy water from Orano through the national water company NamWater. The water plant is fully owned by French nuclear state company Orano, previously known as Areva.
Orano Mining Namibia spokesperson Christine de Klerk attributed the water interruptions to the sea's sulphur levels. During 2019 and the first part of this year there were higher than normal levels of sulphur along the coast, De Klerk said. "When sulphur levels are elevated the plant is shut down before it can enter the process and cause damage. Once the sulphur levels are back to normal, plant operation continues," she told The Namibian last week. (The Namibian Apr. 7, 2020)

Namibia plans to expand electricity capacity with renewables

Namibia's power utility NamPower plans to add 220 MW in new electricity capacity by 2023, as the uranium-producing southwest African nation seeks to wean itself off imports, its managing director said on Wednesday (July 24). Namibia, which has installed capacity of 606 MW, is a net importer of electricity mainly from neighbouring countries like Zambia and South Africa. NamPower's managing director Simson Haulofu said the utility would construct wind, solar and biomass generators in the central and coastal regions to deliver 150 MW. Another 70 MW would be procured from independent power producers, Haulofu said while launching NamPower's business plan for the period 2019 to 2023 in the capital, Windhoek. (Reuters July 24, 2019)

Groups oppose proposed shipping of Namibian uranium through South African ports

> View here

Several mines in Namibia operate with expired waste water permits

Windhoek-Auditor-General Junias Kandjeke has discovered that 62 percent - eight out of 12 - [?!] of the permits issued to mineral rights holders operating in the //Karas and Erongo Regions have expired. The Department of Water Affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry issues five-year Waste Effluent Disposal Exemption Permits (WEDEP) and the renewal should be done within three months before expiry. At the time of the audit, it was found that the directorate did not adequately ensure that mineral rights holders have valid WEDEP. These mines were also found to be in contravention of the Environmental Management Act of 2007, as they are disposing waste into the environment.
These revelations are contained in the 2011/12-2014/2015 financial reports regarding the Monitoring of Pollution and Environmental Rehabilitation of Mining Sites within the Ministry of Mines and Energy and that of Environment and Tourism that Kandjeke audited. Kandjeke said, as a result, the non-renewal of permits could increase the rate of non-compliance, which could lead to contamination of water resources because the water quality is not tested to ensure compliance to Namibian water quality standards. Some of those found to be contravening the Environmental Management Act of 2007 include Namdeb, Elizabeth Bay Diamond Mine, Rössing Uranium Mine, Swakop Uranium, Valencia Uranium Mine.
Some of the miners found with valid mining permits include Skorpion Zinc, Rosh Pinah Corporation, Walvis Bay Salt Refinery/Salt & Chemicals and Langer Heinrich Uranium. Rössing Uranium also had one valid permit although the other one had expired. (New Era Sep. 29, 2017)

Areva's Trekkopje desalination plant to supply water to three other uranium mines via Namwater

Areva SA's Namibian unit will sign a 10-year deal this month with a state-run utility to maintain water supplies essential to uranium mines in the country owned by companies including Rio Tinto Group and Paladin Energy Ltd. The agreement with Namibia Water Corp. will be completed at the end of June, Hilifa Mbako, managing director of the Paris-based nuclear company's local unit, said in an interview.
Areva runs a 20 million cubic meter desalination plant in the semi-arid Erongo region west of the capital Windhoek that supplies Rio's Rössing Uranium Ltd., Paladin's Langer Heinrich mine and China General Nuclear Power Holding Corp.'s Husab site under a temporary deal expiring in October. The new agreement will mean Areva supplies Namibia Water, or Namwater, which will then distribute it to customers. (Bloomberg June 5, 2014)

Areva said to offer to sell Trekkopje water desalination plant to Namibia; Areva denies

Areva SA, the world's largest nuclear-reactor builder, offered to sell its 3 billion Namibian dollar (US$ 276 million) desalination plant in the African nation to the government, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Areva would retain a 10 percent to 20 percent stake in the plant to guarantee water supply to the French company's planned Trekkopje uranium mine, said the person who asked not to be named because the offer hasn't been made public. Namibia's government hasn't yet responded to the offer made through state-owned utility Namibia Water Corp., the person said. Julien Duperray, a spokesman for Areva, based in the Paris suburb of La Defense, didn't immediately respond to calls seeking comment. Namibia Water couldn't immediately be reached for comment. (Bloomberg Jan. 17, 2014)
AREVA, the French nuclear firm, says it is not selling its desalination plant in the Erongo Region, despite some international and local media reports to the contrary. "Areva is not selling or pulling out of the desalination plant," Areva country manager Hilifa Mbako said in an interview yesterday. Mbako explained that what Areva had decided to do was to look for a new local partner for the plant. "We have identified NamWater as a possible partner and we are in negotiations with them, but matters being discussed are confidential at the moment," Mbako said.
Mbako said the plant is supplying water to NamWater and Swakop Uranium, which is developing the Husab uranium mine and the Rössing Uranium mine. (Namibian Feb. 13, 2014)

Uranium mines in Namibia face water shortage

Uranium mines operated by companies including Rio Tinto Plc and Paladin Energy Ltd. in Namibia face a water shortage as a drought in the southwest African nation curbs supply to the operations and three coastal towns.
Volumes from the Omaruru Delta acquifer, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the capital, Windhoek, have declined to 4 million cubic meters this year from 9 million cubic meters a year earlier, said Nehemia Abraham, under-secretary for water and forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture. The source is in the semi-arid Erongo region, which supplies the towns of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay and suffers from severe shortages. Water from a desalination plant owned by Areva SA (AREVA), the country's first such facility, isn't enough to meet needs of Paladin's Langer Heinrich uranium mine, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co.'s Husab uranium project and Rio's Rössing complex.
"The water-supply situation at the coastal area has become too critical," Abraham said by phone yesterday. "Mining companies in the area will have to operate with less water. We are reviewing the situation now and from end of November we might be unable to get enough water from the aquifer to supply to mines." (Bloomberg Nov. 18, 2013)

Areva's Trekkopje desalination plant to supply water to three other uranium mines

The desalination plant built by Areva near Wlotzkasbaken for its proposed Trekkopje uranium mine is to supply water to the Rössing, Langer Heinrich and Husab uranium mines (the latter still under construction), and to the coastal towns. With the Trekkopje mine project currently on hold, Areva is expected to sign an agreement with Namwater next week. The desalinated water is to replace groundwater currently pumped in excessive amounts from the Omdel aquifer. The current consumption of the three mines is 4.5 million cubic metres per year. (Allgemeine Zeitung July 26, 2013)
On Aug. 14, 2013, Areva announced that a first contract with Namibia Water Corporation Ltd (NamWater) has been signed.

Water supply for Namibia's uranium mines reduced by 25% in view of water shortage in central coastal area

On March 25, 2011, NamWater announced that the water supply to the uranium mines will be reduced by 25%. This affects the mines to varying degrees: Rössing hopes to maintain normal production by replacing freshwater in the mill wherever possible and by avoiding any non-essential consumption. Paladin's Langer Heinrich mine is not affected, as it has collected more than 500,000 cubic metres of rain water in two open pits during the past two weeks; and, Areva's Trekkopje mine is not affected, as it is fed with water supplied by its own desalination plant. (Allgemeine Zeitung Mar. 28, 2011)

Water crisis in Swakopmund; uranium mines also affected

Two leaks in the Omdel water pipeline led to a serious water shortage in the city of Swakopmund beginning from Jan. 22, 2010. Apparently, the Rössing and Langer Heinrich uranium mines had been notified of the imminent shortage by NamWater, while residents were not informed. (Allgemeine Zeitung Jan. 25, 2010)
Uranium production came to a standstill at the Rössing and Langer Heinrich uranium mines on Feb. 1 and 2 due to water shortage. Water supply gradually returned on Feb. 3. Areva's Trekkopje mine (under construction) will have to wait until Feb. 5. (Republikein Feb. 4, 2010)

Police seizes 170 kg of stolen uranium

The Erongo Police on Friday (Sep. 4) arrested three suspects for being in possession of, and allegedly wanting to deal in, 170 kg (375 pounds) of uranium oxide (U3O8). (Namibian Sep 8, 2009)

> See also U.S. concerned about trafficking of uranium mined at Rössing

Erongo Region faces serious water shortage; Rössing and Langer Heinrich uranium mines temporarily without water

A severe water shortage is staring the Erongo Region in the face. This fact was demonstrated when two of Namibia's largest mines, Rössing Uranium and Langer Heinrich, were without water for two days a few weeks ago and Swakopmund's reservoir at one stage held only 500 cubic metres of water (the town needs about 11,000 cubic metres a day). Swakopmund Council CEO, Eckart Demasius, stated that the region was experiencing a water shortage. Demasius said the problem was exacerbated by the current condition of the Omdel water-supply system, which is an integral water source for Swakopmund, Arandis, Rössing Uranium and Langer Heinrich, along with the Kuiseb River's Swartbank system, which mostly feeds Walvis Bay. He said pipe-bursts in the Omdel-system caused the Rössing and Langer Heinrich mines to be without water for two days.
Langer Heinrich Managing Director, Wyatt Buck, confirmed that mining was stopped for two days recently, causing revenue losses of nearly N$8 million (US$1 million). "Rössing's operations were not impacted as this was at a time when the mine had a planned two-week maintenance shutdown, with no production," Jerome Mutumba, External Affairs Manager at Rössing Uranium, said. (Namibian July 23, 2009)



Rössing · Langer Heinrich · Husab


> see extra page


Langer Heinrich (currently mothballed)

> View deposit info

Langer Heinrich uranium mine restarted

On Apr. 2, 2024, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that uranium concentrate production and drumming were achieved at the Langer Heinrich Mine (LHM) on 30 March 2024. Focus will now shift to production ramp-up and building a finished product inventory, ahead of shipments to customers.

Namwater to build temporary water pipeline to provide water required for restart of Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Currently, approximately 500 m3/h can be provided from the Omdel Aquifer and 2,200 m3/h from the desalination plant (total production of 21.7 Mm3/a). However, the supply from the plant currently has to be restricted to 1,800 m3/h since the higher pressures required for these NamWater - Omdel - Swakop Temporary Pipelines Project higher flow rates cause breaks on the lower sections of the old Omdel - Wlotzkasbaken pre-stressed pipeline, reducing the total production to 18.5 Mm3/a. With the expected resumption of mining activities by Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine (LHU) in 2024 and higher demand by Husab, additional water will have to be provided by the Orano Desalination Plant. Therefore, NamWater decided on the construction of two short-term parallel pipelines (4.15 km) to supply LHU to be decommissioned upon the completion (2025) of the Omdel Wlotzkasbaken pipeline replacement project.
Commenting of the public on this project will expire at 12h00 on November 1, 2023.
> View: public notice, Oct. 2023 (MET) · alternate source

Water supply capacity to be increased for restart of Langer Heinrich uranium mine

For the Return to Production plans of Langer Heinrich Uranium, an increase from 1.5 million to 2.2 million m3 per annum in water supply is required by the mine. To supply this proposed water demand, the height of the pumpstation buildings along the water pipeline from Swakopmund will have to be increased to accommodate the necessary larger pumps and associated infrastructure.
The water can be supplied from the Kuiseb and Omdel aquifers as well as the Erongo Desalination Plant.
Commenting of the public on this project will expire at 12h00 on September 12, 2023.
> View: public notice, Aug. 2023 (MET) · alternate source

Life Cycle Assessment for Langer Heinrich uranium mine highlights extraordinary amounts of embodied water and energy in yellowcake produced

"[...] It was found that the major environmental impacts are marine ecotoxicity, human toxicity, freshwater eutrophication, and freshwater ecotoxicity. These mainly came from electricity consumption in the mining and milling process, especially electricity generated from hard coal. Milling tailings was also a contributor, especially for marine ecotoxicity and human toxicity. The other electricity generation types, including nuclear, hydro, natural gas, and diesel contribute to marine exotoxicity and human toxicity as well. Hydro-electricity, tailings form milling, sodium carbonate, and nuclear electricity also cause freshwater eutrophication at the LHU mine.
The major contributor of the water depletion was hard coal generated electricity consumption as well. Tailings also led to a level of water depletion that was significant but much smaller than that of the coal-based electricity.
In terms of energy, weighting portrayed the main energy used to be nuclear power, in terms of MJ equivalents. Nuclear power was then followed by fossil fuels and finally hydropower. Most of the energy used was for the uranium mining process rather than the milling process.
As expected, the direct water, and energy values, 0.5459 m3 and 97.34 kWh per kg of yellowcake, were much lower than the LCA [Life Cycle Assessment] embodiment values of 282.67 m3 and 76,479 kWh per kg of yellowcake. When compared to other mines, the water use at LHU was found to be much lower while the energy use was found to be much higher."
A Life Cycle Assessment of a Uranium Mine in Namibia , by Janine Lambert, University of South Florida, June 29, 2016 (5.6MB PDF)

Paladin to restart mothballed Langer Heinrich uranium mine

On July 19, 2022, Paladin Energy Ltd announced the decision to return the Langer Heinrich Mine to production, with first volumes targeted for the March quarter of 2024.

Paladin announces Prefeasibility Study results for restart of mothballed Langer Heinrich uranium mine

On Oct. 14, 2019 Paladin Energy Ltd announced that it estimates the initial capital for the rapid restart to be US$80M.
Upon restart, Langer Heinrich would have a production capacity on average of 5.2Mlb pa [2,000 t U/a] while processing high and medium grade ores for approximately an eight-year period (after a 12-month ramp-up period) followed by a production capacity of 2.7Mlb pa [1,038 t U/a] while processing low grade ores for approximately 12 years. This would result in an average life of mine All in Sustaining Cost of approximately US$33/lb.
In addition, Paladin has identified opportunities to significantly debottleneck existing mining and mineral processing operations for a modest and discretionary additional capex of approximately US$30M to achieve an increase in production capacity to 6.5Mlb pa [2,500 t U/a].

On June 30, 2020, Paladin Energy Ltd announced the results of the Mine Restart Plan, confirming that the mine can be brought back into production for US$81M of pre-production cash expenditure.

On Nov. 4, 2021, Paladin Energy Ltd provided an update to the Langer Heinrich Mine Restart Plan.
> Calculate Mine Feasibility

Paladin to commence Prefeasibility Study for restart of mothballed Langer Heinrich uranium mine

On Feb. 26, 2019, Paladin Energy Limited announced it will commence a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) for the restart of the Langer Heinrich uranium mine after a concept study completed by the Company identified multiple options to reduce operating costs, improve uranium process reliability and potentially recover a saleable vanadium product. The PFS is expected to cost US$6.2 million.
The concept study commenced in September 2018 and was completed in February 2019. The concept study verified that the initial capital funding requirements for a restart of Langer Heinrich are expected to be approximately US$100 million, including capital for plant repair and improvement of US$24 million, tailings facility construction of US$4 million, Back-End Upgrade execution of US$22 million and working capital of US$50 million.

Paladin avoided paying US$ 20 million tax on sale of 25% stake in Langer Heinrich uranium mine

The Namibian government lost N$219 million [US$ 20.1 million as of transaction date Jan. 18, 2014] in taxes from the sale of shares in one of the world's largest uranium mines, Langer Heinrich, because the country's tax avoidance law is not up to scratch.
An investigation by The Namibian and UK-based journalism organisation Finance Uncovered revealed that the Australian multi-national mining corporation, Paladin Energy, pocketed N$665 million [US$ 61.1 million as of transaction date Jan. 18, 2014] after selling shares in the Langer Heinrich mine through a Mauritius-based offshore company. Paladin argues that using an offshore holding company means they are not liable to pay tax in Namibia. Tax on the proceeds of the sale would have amounted to N$219 million.
When presented with details of the joint investigation, the Namibian tax office said they were unaware of the Langer Heinrich deal, but in their view, taxes should have been paid on the proceeds. Tax bosses admitted that problems with legislation mean they are unable to enforce the law on offshore transactions like that of Langer Heinrich. Conducting transactions through Mauritius as a way to avoid paying taxes on the profits when assets are sold, is a well-known tax avoidance loophole used by many companies around the world. (Namibian Dec. 12, 2018)

Paladin commences concept study to optimise Langer Heinrich mine in preparation of restart decision, considers vanadium by-product recovery

On Dec. 6, 2018, Paladin Energy Ltd announced it commences a concept study to optimise its Langer Heinrich mine in preparation of a restart decision.
The concept study followed by a prefeasibility study will examine opportunities for improvements to mining and processing at Langer Heinrich to decrease costs, increase throughput and productivity and examine potential for the recovery of a Vanadium by-product.

Remaining operations at Langer Heinrich mine being suspended

On May 25, 2018, Paladin Energy Ltd confirmed that the Langer Heinrich Mine is being placed into care and maintenance.

On Oct. 19, 2018, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that the plant cleanout was completed early-August 2018 and operation has now "successfully transitioned" into care and maintenance.

In view of "stubbornly low spot uranium price", Paladin prepares decision to suspend remaining operations at Langer Heinrich mine

"Given the continued deterioration of macro factors, including the stubbornly low spot uranium price but also factors such as foreign exchange rates and prices of processing reagents, it's becoming less likely that the Company will be in a position to resume physical mining activity at LHM in 2018 nor would processing low grade stockpiles be viable. As a result, Paladin has commenced preparatory steps towards being in a position to formalise a care and maintenance decision with relevant stakeholders." (Paladin Energy Ltd, April 26, 2018)

Even with operations reduced to processing of stockpiled ore, Paladin's Langer Heinrich mine turns out to be unprofitable in current market conditions

Uranium producer Paladin Energy posted a net loss for the six months ended December 2017, as sales revenue fell on higher production costs and lower uranium prices.
The company, which has been processing stockpiles since physical mining ceased at its Langer Heinrich mine, in Namibia, produced 1.71-million pounds of uranium oxide [658 t U] in the six months ended December 31, down 31% from the previous corresponding period's 2.5-million pounds [962 t U].
However, the cost of that production is exceeding the price that the company can obtain for the product. C1 cash cost of production rose sharply from a record-low of $16.25/lb in December 2016, to $23.11/lb in December 2017, owing to lower production and higher reagent usage. The average realised uranium sales price of the six-month period was $21.82/lb. (Mining Weekly Feb. 28, 2018)

In its Quarterly Activities Report for the period ending 31 March 2018, published on Apr. 18, 2018, Paladin reported a further increase of the C1 cash cost of production to US$ 29.82/lb U3O8, while the selling price increased only slightly to US$ 22.15/lb U3O8.

CNNC prepares acquisition of remaining share in Langer Heinrich mine from Paladin

On Mar. 9, 2017, Paladin advised that it has received notice from CNNC requesting that Paladin commences a process to determine the fair market value of Paladin's share of LHM (being 75% of the issued share capital of Langer Heinrich Mauritius Holdings Limited, the holding company of the owner of LHM).
However, on Aug. 21, 2017, Paladin announced that CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding Ltd (COUH) has informed Paladin it has decided not to exercise the potential option to acquire Paladin's 75% interest in the Langer Heinrich mine.

Paladin suspends mining at Langer Heinrich uranium mine for two years, while processing of stockpiled ore continues

The decision of Paladin Energy to halt production for two years at its Langer Heinrich mine has resulted in the loss of over 300 jobs at the mine. Paladin intends to process uranium ore from existing stockpiles for the next two years.
Chamber of Mines of Namibia CEO Veston Malango yesterday said 27 Paladin employees at Langer Heinrich, along with those employed by Karibib Mining and Construction, the company which was mining on behalf of Paladin Energy, have resulted in just over 300 combined job losses. (Namibian Jan. 20, 2017)

Paladin to suspend mining at Langer Heinrich uranium mine, processing of stockpiled ore to continue

Mining at Paladin's flagship Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia is to be suspended, pending uranium price improvement. The company will process low grade ore stockpiles in the interim. While this decision results in a drop in production, importantly it results in a sharp drop in operating costs and hence cash burn. (FN Arena News Aug. 30, 2016)

Paladin to sell further 24% stake in Langer Heinrich uranium mine to CNNC

On July 29, 2016, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that it is to sell another 24% stake in the Langer Heinrich uranium mine to CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings Ltd (COUH), a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). This transaction would raise COUH's holdings in the mine to 49%.

Prime Minister's report exposes lack of safety at Langer Heinrich uranium mine

[...] a recent report by the office of the Prime Minister also pointed fingers at the Australian mine. The Prime Minister's report, obtained last month, said there is a lack of safety at Langer Heinrich and that the workers are not aware of policies, rules and procedures as outlined in the radiation management plan. (The Namibian July 10, 2015)

Paladin plans for another production increase at Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Paladin has initiated a number of cost reduction initiatives currently in force at the Langer Heinrich mine as Paladin positions itself for the future, aiming to increase production by another 20 years. Langer Heinrich's fourth stage expansion is expected to commence in 2017 or 2018, largely dependent on market factors. (Namibia Economist Feb. 20, 2015)

Workers protest against unsafe working conditions at Paladin's Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Employees of the Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine, situated outside Swakopmund, are seeking the removal of the manager for human resources, Hein Daiber, on allegations of victimising employees as well as disregarding employees' safety. They also accuse Daiber of implementing a new salary structure without union agreement.
The workers, through the Mineworkers' Union of Namibia (MUN), are also demanding the removal of Langer Heinrich mine managing director, Simon Solomons. In a petition read to the media in front of the company's office in Swakopmund this week, employees accused Solomons of total disregard for the union and bargaining unit, and as such they want him out.
Workers also said the mine never implemented recommendations made after the 2013 accident that claimed the life of a miner. Further, the workers allege that the mine does not have the safety of workers at heart. "Our members are exposed to safety hazards. The company does not properly investigate incidents at the mine," reads the petition.
The workers also alleged that the removal of contract workers from the mine resulted in a lack of rest and increase in fatigue. "The use of buffs in the open pit for over four years is also another concern, as the company believes that it could prevent radioactive dust," said the workers.
About 60 permanent employees participated in the peaceful demonstration to hand over the petition. The petition was addressed to Solomons, but he was not available to receive it and neither were other management members. (New Era Feb. 20, 2015)

Contract workers claim unfair treatment at Langer Heinrich uranium mine

About 50 employees staged a protest demonstration at Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) Mine's head office in Swakopmund on Thursday (Oct. 2) before handing over a petition listing their complaints. Workers employed by companies sub-contracted to LHU claim they are mistreated at work. The workers from Sure Cast, Gecko Drilling, LBS, Quick Investment, RVH and NEC Stahl claim they are, amongst others, made to work without benefits, such as medical aid, transport allowances and pension. (Namib Times Oct. 7, 2014)

Stage 4 expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine postponed

Paladin Energy Ltd. said it's frozen plans to invest in a new processing plant at its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia after the price of the nuclear fuel fell below the level needed to justify the spending. "With current pricing it's not economic to start new investments, we need at least a price of $70 a pound of uranium," Langer Heinrich Managing Director Simon Solomons said in an interview yesterday at the mine.
The new plant would have been part of an expansion aimed at raising output to 8.5 million pounds of uranium oxide [3,269 t U] a year. The facility now has capacity of about 5.2 million pounds [2,000 t U] a year, sold to three converters in France, Canada and the U.S. Plans for the new processing plant may be reconsidered in about two years, Solomons said. Banks are unwilling to bet on a recovery in uranium prices after they fell to about $34 per pound following the Fukushima nuclear plant shutdown in Japan three years ago, he said. (Businessweek Apr. 4, 2014)

China Uranium Corporation acquires 25% stake in Paladin's Langer Heinrich uranium mine (Namibia)

On Jan. 20, 2014, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that it signed an agreement on 18 January 2014 to sell a 25% joint-venture equity stake in its Langer Heinrich uranium mining operation in Namibia to China Uranium Corporation Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) for consideration of US$ 190 million.

Three workers injured in electrical incident at Langer Heinrich uranium mine

On Oct. 3, 2013, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that on Oct. 2 there was a serious electrical incident at Langer Heinrich Mine involving one employee and two contractors being hospitalised. Two of the workers received significant burns while the third worker received smoke inhalation and has been discharged. The more seriously injured worker has been flown to South Africa for treatment.
On Oct. 30, 2013, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that the more seriously injured worker has died in a South African hospital.

Workers protest at Langer Heinrich uranium mine

About 300 workers, who include mine staff and contractor employees, picketed at Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) mine last Thursday (June 27), protesting the way they are being treated and paid by their employer. Although the peaceful demonstration was organised at the beginning of last week and announced to the mine's management, the protesting workers and media were barred from the minesite where the demonstration was supposed to take place. (Namibian July 2, 2013)

Paladin Energy secures financing for stage 3 expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Uranium producer Paladin Energy said it received full financing of $141-million for the expansion of its Namibia project. Paladin said it signed a financing agreement with a syndicate of banks and added that it plans to fund initial development at the Langer Heinrich Stage 3 through existing cash reserves. The company said the project is on track to reach potential capacity in the first quarter of 2012. (Reuters Aug. 26, 2011)

Langer Heinrich mine expansion hit by strike

Progress on Expansion Phase Three of Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine came to a standstill on Monday (Aug. 15) after employees of the main contractor, Grinaker LTA, downed tools due to grievances related to impending layoffs. According to a workers committee representative, more than 600 workers of the construction and engineering company stopped work on the mine site at noon on Monday - and continued to strike on Tuesday. (Namibian Aug. 17, 2011)

Feasibility study commenced for Stage 4 expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine

AMEC Minproc has commenced work for Paladin Energy on their definitive feasibility study for the major Stage 4 expansion of the Langer Heinrich uranium operation. The study is targeting an overall expanded annual production of 10 million pounds [3,850 t U]. The study is expected to be complete by the end of 2011. (AMEC Minproc June 30, 2011)

Uranium miner Paladin Energy refuses disclosure of carbon footprint

An investor group is considering legal action against Paladin Energy over the uranium miner's refusal to debate climate change risks. Paladin has rejected listing a Climate Advocacy Fund's proposed resolution that the miner disclose its carbon footprint at its annual meeting late this month. The fund owns a small stake in Paladin and had the support of the required 100 shareholders under the Corporations Act to put forward a resolution. "We say Paladin has acted against the provisions of the Act and we could take legal action over it," fund executive director James Thier told BusinessDaily. "Certainly, we will have talks with ASIC ."
Mr Thier said carbon footprint database Trucost estimated Paladin was the third-most carbon intensive ASX 200 company, with emissions estimated at more than 2500 tonnes of carbon dioxide per $1 million of revenue. "This is six times more than the ASX 200 average and if it is correct, it means our company (Paladin) may be highly exposed to carbon costs that are anticipated to be introduced . . . to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," the fund told the miner.
Mr Thier said Paladin chairman Rick Crabb, who did not return BusinessDaily's calls yesterday, told the fund although the company acknowledged its concerns, they "were not part of shareholder business". (Herald Sun Nov. 3, 2010)

Paladin reports doubling of ore reserve of Langer Heinrich deposit

On Oct. 1, 2010, Paladin Energy Ltd. announced that the ore reserve for the Langer Heinrich deposit increased 104% to 134.1 Mlb U3O8 (51,577 t U).

Paladin targets first uranium deliveries to China in 2011

Paladin Energy Ltd. said it is targeting uranium shipments to China in 2011 after signing a preliminary accord with the nation's second-biggest builder of nuclear power plants. Paladin, the Australian mining company producing uranium in Africa, aims to convert a memorandum of understanding with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Co. into supply contracts later in 2010 or early next year, Chief Executive Officer John Borshoff said in a telephone interview today. Paladin may then be able to begin shipments in the "latter part" of next year, he said. (Bloomberg Aug. 31, 2010)

Water supply expansion proposal for Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Groundwater abstraction cannot supply enough water for Langer Heinrich mine expansion, draft Scoping/EIA Report concludes; comments invited:
"The key conclusion of the EIA is that:
The proposed abstraction of 250,000m3/annum from the Husab Berg compartment is not sustainable. The impact of this activity will be high since the sustainable abstraction rate is only 150,000m3/annum and the SEA gives a clear recommendation/guideline that future mining activities must source desalinated water only."
> Download: The Water Supply Improvement Project to the Langer Heinrich Mine. Draft Scoping/Environmental Impact Assessment Report. Draft 03 23/11/2010 for comment by stakeholders , Enviro Dynamics, 2010. (2.2M PDF - Environmental Information Service Namibia)

Residents oppose pumping of more water from Swakop River valley for supply of Langer Heinrich uranium mine expansion: At the first public meeting held at Swakopmund on Aug. 4 on the proposed expansion of the Langer Heinrich uranium mine, the participants vehemently opposed the abstraction of an additional 250,000 cubic metres of water from the Swakop River valley. The landscape had already been affected by excessive water abstraction over the past years, and any additional abstraction would make the damages more obvious, they said. (Allgemeine Zeitung Aug. 6, 2010)

Langer Heinrich uranium mine seeks expansion of water supply: The expansion project for the Langer Heinrich uranium mine requires the supply of additional amounts of water; the proposal is to pump more water from the Swakop River valley. An environmental assessment for the proposal is being prepared by Enviro Dynamics CC .
Public comments on the project are invited by August 18, 2010. (Allgemeine Zeitung July 23, 2010)
The outcome of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the water supply improvement project to the mine is to be presented in Swakopmund on Dec. 1, 2010. (Nambian Nov. 23, 2010)

Paladin plans further massive expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine, including heap leaching

On Oct. 29, 2009, Paladin Energy Ltd announced plans to increase production capacity of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine to around 10 million lb U3O8 [3,846 t U] per year (Stage 4 Expansion).
"It is believed that with current resources this balance can best be achieved by an annual plant production level of around the 9 Mlb U3O8, and a remaining mine life of 15 years. Investigations to date also suggest that this can be supplemented by a 1 Mlb pa U3O8 heap leaching facility. The run of mine operation is planned to crush approximately 8 Mtpa at an average grade of 600 ppm. This crushed ore will then be upgraded through an expanded scrubbing circuit to give a leach feed grade of around 920 ppm. The heap leach feed material is expected to comprise 42 Mt of low grade (175 ppm) material. Off-site infrastructure requirements include the installation of a second water supply pipeline and an upgrade to the existing electrical power supply line."

Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the proposed expansion project at Langer Heinrich mine

"LHU [Langer Heinrich Uranium (Pty) Ltd] proposes to expand its current operations at the mine in order to increase the uranium oxide production from 3.7 million pounds per annum [1,423 t U/a] to between 5 and 10 million pounds per annum [1,923 - 3,846 t U/a].
The main components of the expansion project include:
> Download: Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the proposed expansion project at Langer Heinrich mine , August 2009 (Paladin Energy Ltd)

Paladin approves further expansion of Langer Heinrich uranium mine

On June 30, 2009, Paladin Energy Ltd announced board approval of the Stage III Expansion of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine. The expansion project will increase production capacity to 5.2 million lb U3O8 [2000 t U] per year, rather than 6 million lb U3O8, as previously announced. The reduced target was chosen, as it is not vulnerable to delays in achieving additional water supply.
According to Paladin's news release of Nov. 12, 2010, "Stage 3 construction to expand capacity to 5.2Mlb pa is tracking early 2011 mechanical completion and startup of commissioning."

Paladin reports large resource upgrade for Langer Heinrich deposit

On Aug. 28, 2008, Paladin Energy Ltd announced a 46% increase in the Measured and Indicated Resources and a 64% increase in the Inferred Resources of the Langer Heinrich uranium deposit.

Langer Heinrich uranium mine expansion project

Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) proposes to commence, in 2008, with the first stage of a two-stage expansion, which aims to ramp up production from its current 2.6 Mlb/a U3O8 [1,000 t U/a] to approximately 3.7 Mlb/a U3O8 [1,423 t U/a] by early 2009.
The second stage of the expansion is targeted for 2010 and sees production at approximately 6.0 Mlb/a U3O8 [2,308 t U/a]. This latter stage has yet to be designed.
A document outlining the proposed changes in activities, impacts and proposed mitigation was prepared and submitted to MME and MET. Because the stage II expansion project is still within the scope of the original environmental approval LHU understood that an EIA would not be necessary but that the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) should be updated to reflect the changes. After reviewing the document, both Ministries confirmed that updating the EMP and communicating these changes to LHU's interested and affected parties is sufficient. (LHU May 28, 2008)

Intervention after sulphuric acid spill at Langer Heinrich mine leads to explosions

The spilling of a large quantity of sulphuric acid at the Langer Heinrich uranium mine has raised questions about safety procedures at the mine. The Namibian was informed that one of the mine's employees had lost his grip on the hose transferring the acid from a truck to a storage facility. The employee apparently fled to call for help, after which a forklift dumped a large quantity of caustic soda on the spill to neutralise the acid. The result was explosive, according to the sources. A series of loud bangs could be heard from a distance, but nobody was injured. (Namibian Apr. 25, 2008)

Langer Heinrich mine flooded after rainstorm

On March 27, 2008, the open pit of the Langer Heinrich mine was flooded with run-off water from a rainstorm. The pit will not be usable for about one month. During this time, Paladin intends to mine its second pit. (Allgemeine Zeitung Mar. 31, 2008)

Langer Heinrich mine reaches designed production level

On Jan. 14, 2008, Paladin Energy Ltd announced the the Langer Heinrich operations achieved the stated production target for the December quarter of 2007. Paladin now expects Langer Heinrich to produce at its nameplate design of 2.6 Mlb of uranium oxide U3O8 [1000 t U] for the calendar year 2008.

> View old issues


Husab mine

> View deposit info


Swakop Uranium plans to construct pilot heap leach plant at Husab uranium mine

Swakop Uranium executive vice president Irvinne Simataa yesterday (Jul. 31) revealed the mining giant is expecting to spend N$290 million [US$ 16.3 million] for the construction of a pilot heap leach plant.
"This is to explore the economic feasibility of processing lower-grade uranium ore. Heap leach pilot plant tests will be concluded by the end of 2025, after which further investment will be made to expand to a commercial heap leach plant if found to be economically feasible," Simataa said in a statement yesterday. (New Era Aug. 1, 2023)

Swakop Uranium wants to partner with government over second desalination plant

> View here

Swakop Uranium plans to add heap leach facility to Husab uranium mine

Swakop Uranium plans to add a Heap Leach Facility [HLF] and associated infrastructure to the existing facilities at its Husab uranium mine. Plant throughput will be 7.5 Mtpa of ore, with 1163 t/a U3O8 [986 t U/a] final product produced (Nameplate).
The waste from the heap leach circuit will be deposited onto the heap leach waste storage facility [HLWF] via stacker system. The total volume to be stored will be approximately 150 million tons/LOM [Life of Mine]. The proposed HLWF has a footprint of ~155 ha with maximum north-south and east-west dimensions ~1400 and ~1100 m, respectively. The maximum overall dam height is 30 m. The HLWF will be covered in rip rap at end of LOM.
A portion of seepage within the HLF will enter the subsurface as increased groundwater recharge as the base of the HLF. This increased groundwater recharge was estimated from the previous groundwater numerical model report (SLR, 2016) to typically range between 1.0% and 0.5% of MAP during the operational phase for waste facilities.
Commenting of the public on this project will expire at 12h00 on March 7, 2023.
> Renewal of the Environmental Clearance Certificate for Swakop Uranium Mine (MET) · alternate source

Husab uranium mine causes massive losses

Swakop Uranium, which operates the giant Husab uranium mine, has reported a loss of 4.1 billion Namibian dollars [US$ 273 million] since production began in 2018. Swakop Uranium announced this in a written statement yesterday. (Allgemeine Zeitung Apr. 21, 2022)

Husab uranium mine production hampered by inconsistent supply of water

" [...] the milling and processing operations continued to be hampered by the inconsistent supply of water. Milled tonnes for the year were 8% below target and as a result, saleable U3O8 production was 11% below budget. Over the past five years, the average loss of production due to water supply issues was around 400 tonnes of uranium oxide [339 t U] per year. These interruptions were, inter alia, due to "high sulphur levels" in seawater and shutdowns of the desalination plant." (Swakop Uranium Sustainability Report 2021)

Husab and Rössing uranium mines plagued by inconsistent desalinated water supply

> View here

Swakop Uranium agrees to some of Husab uranium mine workers' safety demands

The management of Swakop Uranium has agreed to take stricter measures to ensure the safety of its employees at Husab Mine.
Employees of the mine in a petition recently expressed concern about alleged negligence by the contracted Beifang Mining blasting company and safety measures, leading them to halt work in the mine's zones 1 and 2.
A media release issued by the Mineworkers Union of Namibia's western regional coordinator, George Ampweya, on Friday (Mar. 22) indicated that some of the agreements between the union and Swakop Uranium include the appointment of an independent expert to head an investigation task team into the "danger zones".
"Upon conclusion of the investigation, the task team submitted preliminary reports that declared the areas safe and employees were instructed by the company to commence work in those areas," Ampweya noted.
The union and company management also set out strategies to reform the status quo, among others, as far as safety is concerned. (Namibian Mar. 23, 2019)

Husab mine operations halted after protests against negligent handling of explosives

Operation at the Husab uranium mine was temporarily suspended yesterday after workers in a petition raised several safety concerns, particularly in relation to the handling of explosive devices.
The allegations are directed in particular against the Chinese blast contractor Beifang Mining Services cc, which is said to have violated essential security measures since 2016. At least that's what the miners' union (MUN) is talking about in a petition that was presented yesterday to Swakop Uranium on behalf of all workers.
"We stopped the operation to thoroughly investigate the allegations," said Percy McCallum, head of human resources and business development at Swakop Uranium, adding, "Safety is our top priority." When to resume operations remained unnamed in the brief statement by McCallum. (Allgemeine Zeitung Feb. 27, 2019)

Fatal accident at Husab uranium mine

Swakop Uranium confirmed that a fatal vehicle accident occurred on the Husab mine's premises late yesterday afternoon (29 October 2018). An ore haul truck steered out of control and hit the cliff face of the open pit, killing the driver on impact. (Namib Times Oct. 30, 2018)

Giant Husab mine ramps up uranium production

The Namibian Husab Uranium Mine operated by China's State-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp had produced over 1,000 metric tons of uranium oxide in 2017. The Husab mine, the third-largest uranium mine, will continue to be optimized in 2018. The company will ramp up its throughput to ensure the mine reaches its design capacity by this year, said Huang Xiaofei, a spokesman for CGN. The company said the mine will produce 6,500 tons of uranium oxide within a few years. (China Daily Jan. 24, 2018)

Husab mine workers stage protest over working conditions

Workers at Swakop Uranium's Husab Mine east of Swakopmund staged a peaceful protest at the mine's head office at the coastal town last Wednesday (Nov. 15), where they handed a petition to the company's management.
Although the company and the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) have had several meetings on issues affecting the workers, no agreements have been reached, according to vice chairperson of MUN's Swakop Uranium branch, Rudolf Kahingunga.
"As leadership we have always tried to protect the company from any embarrassing situation. However, as leaders, we are also bound by the wishes of the members, where it is justified to do so," read the petition, followed by a list of complaints about salaries and job gradings, non-Namibians not having Namibian understudies, shift times, recruitment, company policies and regulations, and the conduct of some of the company's managers. (The Namibian Nov. 20, 2017)

Husab uranium mine operates with expired waste water permit

> View: Several mines in Namibia operate with expired waste water permits

Footprint of Husab uranium mine's waste rock dump to be doubled to 11 square kilometers

An increase in the defined mineral resource at the Husab deposit entails an increase in the size of the required waste rock dump at the mine site. With the currently licensed footprint of 659 ha, the dump height would have to be raised from the currently licensed 210 m to 270 m to accomodate the additional mine waste arisings. Swakop Uranium argues that such a height would be geotechnically unstable in the long term, operationally unsafe, and lead to increased cost.
Swakop Uranium rather proposes to increase the footprint of the waste rock dump from 659 ha to 1,100 ha to accommodate the additional waste arisings, while allowing for a decrease of the dump height from 210 m to 120 m.
A draft Scoping Report for the project will be made available for a 30-day public comment period.
(Swakop Uranium (Pty) Ltd.: EIA amendment process to the Husab mine: proposed waste rock dump alterations, development of a waste incinerator and new mobile communication antenna-poles, Background Information Document, July 2017)

Leak of tailings dam at Husab uranium mine

Tailings dam of new Husab uranium mine allegedly leaking: Swakop Uranium is investigating claims that the tailings dam at its Husab mine is leaking dangerous waste material into underground water sources. A photo posted on social media last week which showed the mine's tailings dam allegedly leaking has attracted a wave of negative reaction, especially around fears that scarce ground water in the Namib's Kahn and Swakop rivers is being contaminated.
Swakop Uranium's vice president for human resources and business support, Percy McCallum, told The Namibian that the mine had taken note of the concerns. "Please be advised that the company is investigating the issues raised on the tailings dam," he said. The public, in response to the social media post, accuses the company of poor management and construction at what could become one of the biggest uranium mines in the world. (Namibian May 29, 2017)

Investigation confirms leak of Husab tailings dam and identifies cause: Defective pumps are identified as the cause of the tailings dam leak observed in May, according to an investigation performed by the government and an external consultant. The defective pumps lead to an overflow of the tailings dam. (Allgemeine Zeitung July 16, 2017)
An investigation was done by the department of environmental affairs, the national radiation protection authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, and an external environmental consultancy. It revealed that the pumps at some of the lined seepage collection ponds partially failed, and with the continuous inflow of the seepage water, it resulted in the lined seepage ponds overflowing onto the unlined surroundings. (The Namibian Aug. 9, 2017)

> View old issues


HOME   WISE Uranium Project   >   Mining & Milling   >   Issues   >   Operating Issues - Africa   >