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New Uranium Mining Projects - Namibia: Trekkopje   flag

(last updated 16 Mar 2023)

Trekkopje Uranium Project

Trekkopje deposit data


Renewal of environmental clearance for mothballed Trekkopje uranium mine project

Renewal application for the environmental clearance certificate: Continuation of mining and associated activities at the Trekkopje Mine. However, the Project was placed under 'Care and Maintenance' in 2013, with Orano postponing the launch of the Trekkopje Mine indefinitely, depending the future recovery of the uranium price.
Commenting of the public on this project will expire at 12h00 on March 29, 2023.
> Access related documents (MET)

New solar plant at Orano's mothballed Trekkopje uranium mine project site to supply electricity for Erongo Desalination Plant

Orano Mining Namibia has announced it will source additional solar power for the Erongo Desalination Plant (EDP) under a ten-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with InnoSun Energy Holdings.
The agreement includes the establishment of a 5 MW solar plant at the Trekkopje Site just north east of Arandis, from where power will be supplied to the EDP, situated at the coast 35 km north of Swakopmund. Under the agreement, InnoSun Energy Holdings will design, construct and operate the solar plant.
Construction will commence in the second half of 2022 and the plant is expected to be operational toward the end of 2023. (Orano June 23, 2022)

Solar plant in operation at Orano's mothballed Trekkopje uranium mine project

The Trekkopje's Solar Project construction was completed and operational in August 2018. The project incurred construction costs of N$137 million [US$ 9.69 million], excluding development costs. The project has a combined output of 5.78 Megawatts. (Namib Times Sep. 28, 2018)

5MW solar plant under construction at Areva's mothballed Trekkopje uranium mine project

A new Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power Project capable of feeding five Megawatts of electricity into the national grid is currently being constructed at the substation of the mothballed Trekkopje Uranium Project about 45 Kilometres northeast of Swakopmund. The official groundbreaking of the N$110 million [US$ 7 million] investment took place in Swakopmund this week. (Namib Times May 20, 2016)

Areva has no plans to restart mothballed Trekkopje uranium mine project

Areva country manager Hilifa Mbako said in an interview yesterday that there are no plans to restart the Trekkopje project. "The market conditions have not changed to convince us otherwise. The price of uranium at the moment is hovering between US$34 and US$36 per pound. The ideal price should be between US$66 and US$70 per pound," he said. (Namibian Feb. 13, 2014)

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

> See here

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

> View here

Second shipment of uranium leaves Areva's mothballed Trekkopje uranium mine project

This week the second shipment of sodium di-uranate (SDU) produced during the MIDI pilot phase at the Trekkopje mining site left the Walvis Bay industrial port for Trekkopje's parent company in France.
This second convoy brings the total uranium production figure for the Trekkopje site to 435 tonnes before the start of the facility monitoring and maintenance programme. According to the mine, the success of MIDI has made it possible to confirm the technical operation parameters for a large-scale alkaline leaching facility, which would be a first in uranium mining. While the site is mothballed, an onsite team will continue to work on further improving facility operation in order to be ready to restart operations once global uranium market conditions have improved. (New Era July 26, 2013)

First uranium produced at Areva's Trekkopje mine ready for shipment

The first uranium produced at Areva's Trekkopje Mine in the Namib is ready for shipment to France. The 250 tonnes of dried sodium diuranate (SDU) will be sent to Areva's uranium treatment subsidiary Comurhex Malvési, Areva Processing Namibia said in a statement on Friday (Oct. 26). The news followed on the heels of Areva's announcement that the Trekkopje project will be put on hold until the development's "economy improves". (The Namibian Oct. 29, 2012)

Areva mothballs Trekkopje uranium mine project

French energy group Areva said on Thursday (Oct. 11) it had delayed the start-up of its $1 billion Trekkopje uranium mine in Namibia and put the project on care and maintenance until market conditions improve. Areva said the project, which makes use of the "heap-leaching" extraction process and is about 80% complete, was only viable at a price of $75/lb or more. It will cost the company $10-million a year to keep the project under care and maintenance. The company plans to finish all ongoing construction by December. (Reuters Oct. 11, 2012)

Worker falls to death at Areva's Trekkopje uranium mine project

A man working for the Cosira Group at Areva's Trekkopje mine fell to his death on Wednesday (Oct 3). Cosira is responsible for the structural, mechanical, plate-work and piping supply and installation for the uranium mine's main plant. Police Deputy Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu said Petrus Kashongo (38) was working on a high platform and fell about 24 metres at around 15h00. (Namibian Oct. 5, 2012)

Areva suspends Trekkopje uranium mine project

Areva has decided to suspend the Trekkopje uranium mine project. The company hopes to resume the project in 2016, if the uranium price recovers sufficiently. (Le Figaro Dec. 13, 2011)

Areva lowers Trekkopje deposit resource estimate by 42%

Areva revised the resource estimate for the Trekkopje deposit from 45,200 t U to 26,000 t U, since chemical analysis of ore samples showed much lower uranium concentrations than expected from radiometric monitoring, in particular for low grade ores. The production cost estimate for the mine thus increases, correspondingly. (Areva Dec. 12, 2011)

Rumors growing that Areva plans to abandon Trekkopje uranium mine project

According to the Internet site L'Expansion, Areva plans to abandon the Trekkopje uranium mine project as part of a massive restructuring program that is to be set up in reaction to a drop in demand caused by the German nuclear phase-out and the Fukushima disaster. (Le Monde Oct. 18, 2011)
Contrary to reports appearing on a number of Web sites and in French newspapers last week, Areva has no plans to cancel an uranium project at Trekkopje in Namibia, Africa Mining Intelligence has learned. (Africa Mining Intelligence Oct. 26, 2011)

Suspected theft of yellow cake from Areva's Trekkopje uranium mine

Namibian authorities have arrested four people they suspect of stealing drums of radioactive material from a mine in the country that is a major exporter of uranium, officials said on Monday (Aug. 29). The four were arrested on Friday (Aug. 26) in the coastal town of Swakopmund, the drums have been recovered and the material is thought to have come from Areva's Trekkopje mine, they said. Axel Tibinyane, regulator of the Atomic Energy Board of Namibia , said the contents of the drums are radioactive. "The next step is to confirm that the material is indeed uranium oxide, but physical observation points in that direction. This will also allow us to fingerprint the origin of the material," Tibinyane told Reuters. (Reuters Aug. 29, 2011)
Four drums of radioactive material stolen last week in Namibia contained uranium ore and came from Areva's Trekkopje Mine in the country, the French company said on Friday (Sep. 2). Four suspects have been arrested and the stolen material has been recovered, Namibian nuclear authorities said. "A uranium concentrate was discovered in four 50-litre containers, weighing about 324 kg (700 pounds) in total. These drums contain uranium with a low radioactivity level," Areva said in a statement. (Reuters Sep. 2, 2011)

Startup of Trekkopje mine production delayed further; Areva looking for partner

French energy group Areva is looking for a partner to start mining at its Namibian uranium project, a senior official said on Thursday (May 19). Areva said in February that production at the Trekkopje mine would start in the last quarter of 2013, roughly a year behind schedule, and will produce 3,000 tonnes of yellow cake per annum through heap-leaching.
Because of the deposit's low grades Trekkopje is thought to be only viable at a long-term price of $70-80 per pound. Spot uranium on Thursday stood at $57.75 per pound. nrico Barbaglia, vice president of Areva South Africa, said Trekkopje will be the lowest grade uranium mine ever taken into production. (Reuters May 19, 2011)

Trekkopje uranium mine production delayed by one year

Areva's Trekkopje uranium mine will go into production in the first quarter of 2013; a year later than was initially expected.
Rumoured reasons for the delay, that the mine was "pulling out of Namibia" for the next two years because of alleged problems with the desalination plant north of Wlotzkasbaken, were denied. (Namibian Jan. 27, 2011)

First uranium produced at Trekkopje mine

On Jan. 10, 2011, the first uranium concentrate was produced at the Trekkopje uranium mine project. (Areva Jan. 17, 2011)

Second stage pilot scale operation of Trekkopje uranium mine project taken into operation

The Midi project (second stage pilot scale operation), for which Bateman Engineering was the EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management) contractor, is currently being handed over to Areva.
The Maxi project (full production scale operation) is currently on schedule to ensure that the first ore stacking will start in the first quarter of 2012. (Bateman Engineering July 2, 2010)
With a steady water supply from the Erongo desalination plant now available, the operations team are able to commence with the wash sequence on the MIDI heap leach pad at Trekkopje Mine. This is the start of a 600 day wash, leach, and rinse cycle on the 10 cell MIDI pad that will produce over 400 tonnes of uranium from 3.2 million tonnes of mined ore.
Meanwhile, work on the MAXI project is underway with 250 machines being deployed for the excavation of the pad and ponds. Spent ore will be used to backfill the open pit by an on-off heap leaching to reduce the mine’s footprint and assist in the process of concurrent rehabilitation. (The Namibia Economist July 16, 2010)

Death of aquatic life near desalination plant of Areva's Trekkopje uranium mine

Since Easter 2010, a carpet of dead mussels and nautilus extends over a 3 km stretch of the beach at the north of the brine outfall line of the desalination plant near Wlotzkasbaken. It is still unclear whether the brine, a by-product of desalination, is responsible for the deaths in huge numbers. (Allgemeine Zeitung April 12, 2010)
Areva once again has claimed that the desalination plant is not responsible for the death of aquatic life observed in 2010. "There is no difference in the [salt] concentration of the seawater within a stretch of 5 m into the sea," according to Vice President and Managing Director Enrico Barbaglia of Areva Resources Southern Africa. A study conducted by Areva rather had found that the mussels had died a natural death. (Allgemeine Zeitung/New Era Feb. 3, 2011)

Areva hopes to achieve full production at Trekkopje uranium mine by mid-April

Construction and testing are in full swing at the world’s tenth largest uranium mine, Trekkopje, in an effort to achieve full production by mid-April this year. (New Era Feb. 22, 2010)

Areva enlists United Africa Group as co-owner of Trekkopje Project desalination plant

Namibia-based United Africa Group (UAG) has acquired a 50% co-ownership in Areva's desalination plant near Wlotzkasbaken. The plant now does business under the name of Erongo Desalination Company.
The plant capacity is 20 million cubic metres per year, while the Trekkopje mine requires an estimated 14 million cubic metres. The excess capacity has been offered to Namwater. (Allgemeine Zeitung Feb. 19, 2010)

Areva's Trekkopje Project desalination plant ready for commissioning

According to Areva Project Director Alain L'Hour, the desalination plant has now entered its final commissioning stage, and tests will be carried out until mid-2010, when it will start producing desalinated water. Full production will start in the first half of 2011. (Namibian Oct. 28, 2009)

Areva to build 35-km road to Trekkopje uranium mine

Areva Resources Namibia intends to build a 35-km road from Arandis to its Trekkopje Uranium Mine. A public meeting will be held at Arandis on June 17 as part of the first phase of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). (Namibian June 2, 2009)

First uranium recovered from heap leaching "minipilot" plant at Trekkopje

At the end of March 2009, the first production of sodium diuranate (SDU) was achieved at Areva's Trekkopje uranium mine's minipilot plant, proving the heap-leaching treatment process a success. The minipilot plant will continue heap leaching to improve the overall recovery process within the next six months. Although the current SDU production is very small, the pilot plant production will ramp up and a larger pilot is expected to enter into production by the end of the year.
The Trekkopje uranium-mining project has completed the first major phase in its development, producing an 80,000-t bulk sample, and is currently busy with the second stage to produce a larger sample of three-million tons. The third phase will be full production, which is expected to begin in 2010, with a lifespan of about 11 years. (Mining Weekly May 8, 2009)

License granted for Trekkopje uranium mine

Under the mining agreement issued on 16 February 2009 between the Ministry of Mines and Energy and AREVA Resources Namibia (ARN), the group actually has been granted their Mining License for the Trekkopje deposit, while this had been officially announced in June 2008, already. The Mining License No. 151 is valid for 25 years with an option of renewal thereafter. Full production is due to begin in 2011 with an anticipated life of mine of 11 years. Water for the mining operations will be supplied by the Desalination Plant near Wlotzkasbaken via a 48.3 km pipeline to the site. (Uramin Feb. 19, 2009 / Allgemeine Zeitung Feb. 23, 2009)

Trekkopje uranium mine to open in July 2008

UraMin will open its uranium mine at Trekkopje in July 2008, Managing Director Bert Leathley said this week. The firm expects to export its first yellow cake at the end of 2009 through Walvis Bay, Leathley told the Economist. He said US$920 million will be spent on capital expenses to bring the mine into production. The company expects to produce 8.5 million pounds of uranium oxide [3269 t U] per year, making it Namibia's biggest uranium mine. Leathley however said that the export markets for the uranium oxide were yet to be confirmed.
The firm was currently in discussions with NamPower over power supply, he said. NamPower is faced with a deficit in supply and recent press reports have indicated that power supply to new mines may only be available in 2009. Leathley also said the desalination plant, which is being jointly built with NamWater, will be completed in the second quarter of 2009. (The Namibia Economist Feb. 15, 2008)

Lichen fields at risk from pipeline required for Trekkopje uranium mine project

The pipeline that will connect the proposed Trekkopje uranium mine to the desalination plant planned at Wlotzkasbaken will traverse unique lichen fields only found in this area. Prof. Dr. Norbert Juergens, head of the BIOTA-Africa Project , raised concern about the future of the worldwide unique lichen fields. Juergens demanded that the new environmental law rather must assure the sustainability of the lichen fields. (Allgemeine Zeitung Dec. 20, 2007)

UraMin to sell 35% of uranium output to China

State-owned Chinese firm, Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, has struck a contract with French nuclear giant, Areva, to buy 35 percent of uranium mined at Areva's Namibian based uranium mine in Trekkopje. Namibia's central bank said that take-off of the uranium purchase agreement forms the core of Areva's plans to pump US$750 million into developing one of the world's largest uranium mine, the Trekkopje uranium project in Namibia. (APA Oct. 1, 2008)

China's global quest to secure uranium supplies received a boost when Areva , the French nuclear company, agreed to supply African uranium for at least the next 14 years. Areva will also build, operate and supply two nuclear reactors in the southern province of Guangdong.
The $12 billion deal with state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC) included at least 23,000 tonnes of uranium on top of an annual supply of about 600 tonnes to the two reactors. Under the deal CGNPC agreed to buy 35 per cent of the uranium production of UraMin, a Canadian mining company with uranium deposits in South Africa, Namibia and Central African Republic, which Areva bought in September 2007 for $2.5 billion. (Financial Times Nov. 26, 2007)

Areva signs contract on construction of desalination plant for Trekkopje mine project - even before environmental assessment and feasibility studies concluded

On Nov. 23, 2007, Namibia's water utility Namwater and UraMin signed an agreement to build a 250 million Namibian dollar (nearly US$40 million) sea water intake and brine disposal pipeline to support a 715 million Namibian dollar (US$110 million) sea water desalination facility. It will be located in the coastal town of Swakopmund.
"The facility will supply water to UraMin's proposed Trekkopje mine as well as to Namwater's clients in the coastal areas of Namibia," Vaino Shivute, chief executive officer of the water utility, told reporters. Shivute said they expect to produce 45 million cubic meter of water a year, with 25 million cubic meters earmarked for Namwater clients and the rest going to UraMin, whose uranium mine is expected to come on line in early 2008. (AP Nov. 23, 2007)

Areva has no scruples about taking advantage of Namibia's very special regulatory regime: Draft Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report for Trekkopje Uranium Project available for comment - for just two weeks

The mine is to work the Klein Trekkopje deposit which is approximately 15 km long by between 1 and 3 km wide and is located in the Namib desert 35 km north of the Rössing mine. The deposit is located at very shallow depth; it extends to a maximum depth of 30 m and is covered with a layer of topsoil and overburden that is just 1 m to 2 m thick.
The proven and probable reserves are 49,952 t eU3O8 [42,359 t eU] at a grade of 126 ppm eU3O8 [107 ppm eU] - that is less than half of the grade at the Rössing mine.
Ore is to be mined from the open pit at a rate of 100,000 tonnes per day. The ore is crushed and then stacked on a heap leach pad with a capacity of 30 million t of ore and covering an area of 2.2 square kilometers, where it is leached with a sodium carbonate/bicarbonate solution. After leaching, the spent ore is placed on waste dumps and/or back in the pits, and fresh ore is placed on the heap leach pad.
The mining and processing cost is estimated at US$ 55.00 per lb eU3O8 produced.
The mine will require 20 million cubic meters of water per year which is to be supplied by a desalination plant to be built at the coast at Wlotzkasbaken.

The closing date for comments is 30 November 2007.

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Concerns raised over proposed desalination plant for Trekkopje uranium mine project

In a convention held in Swakopmund by Turgis Consulting (Pty) Ltd on Aug. 24, 2007, citizens raised their concerns over the proposed desalination plant for the Trekkopje uranium mine project. The concerns included the availability of power for the plant, the plant location near the protected lichen fields, the cumulative impact of any further desalination plants necessary for up to eight further uranium mines proposed in the area. (Allgemeine Zeitung Aug. 8, 2007)
Earlier, the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources had called for an analysis of the impact of the plant's brine releases on the aquaculture planned in the area. Environmentalists feared the pipeline would present a barrier to game migration in the area; they demanded that at least parts of it be buried in the ground. (Allgemeine Zeitung Aug. 23, 2007)

Uramin invites tenders for construction of desalination plant for proposed Trekkopje mine

Uramin Inc. is inviting tenders for construction of a desalination plant to be built near Wlotzkasbaken. The plant is required for Uramin's proposed Trekkopje uranium mine (for which no mining license has been issued yet). (Allgemeine Zeitung June 27, 2007)

Uramin plans to use in-pit heap-leaching for mining of Trekkopje deposit

In its Preliminary Assessment of April 26, 2007, Uramin discloses the proposed mining and ore processing scheme for the Trekkopje mine: Uramin wants to mine the ore in open pits, crush it, and then place it back in the pit for acidic and/or basic heap leaching.

> Download Preliminary Assessment of April 26, 2007 (2.6M PDF) (SEDAR)

Desalination plant for Trekkopje uranium mine project required

Namwater cannot supply sufficient amounts of water for the Trekkopje uranium mine project. Therefore, Uramin plans to build a 15 million cubic meter per year desalination plant near Wlotzkasbaken at the coast. (Allgemeine Zeitung April 5, 2007)

Trekkopje project update

Trekkopje, estimated to cost $500 million to build, is due to advance to trial mining in 2007 and to launch commercial production in late 2008. Work began in March 2007 on a 60000-ton heap leach pilot project.
Production is expected to start at 4.2-million pounds (1615 t U) in 2009 and rise to full production of 8.4-million pounds (3231 t U) a year by 2011. (Business Day March 30, 2007)

Uramin starts environmental impact study of Trekkopje uranium mine project

On Dec. 12, 2006, Uramin said it had started a mandatory environmental impact study of the Trekkopje uranium mine project. Uramin planned to dig the Trekkopje mine by 2011, ahead of projects in South Africa and the Central African Republic, it said. Trekkopje would produce uranium for 15 years and employ 120 workers. (Business Report Dec. 13, 2006)

Exploration licences granted for the Trekkopje Uranium Project

On 23 November 2006, UraMin Inc announced that the Ministry of Mines and Energy in Namibia has formally granted two exploration licences for the Trekkopje Uranium Project.

Bankable Feasibility Study on Trekkopje uranium project started

On June 13, 2006, UraMin announced that SRK Consulting (US) Inc. ("SRK") has begun a Bankable Feasibility Study ("BFS") on the Trekkopje uranium project in Namibia. SRK envisage completion of the BFS in the second half of 2007 at an estimated cost of US$7 million.

UraMin raises money for Trekkopje uranium mine project

UraMin Namibia (Pty) says it has raised US$60 million and in the process, has increased its cash holding to around US$75 million. UraMin Namibia intends to use the money to develop the Trekkopje project. The company has started extensive drilling to verify the previous exploration results, which have been carried out by different companies since 1990. Neil Herbert, UraMin Namibia's financial director, said the feasibility programme would be completed late this year or early next year. Herbert said once the previous geological results have been satisfactorily verified, work will start to commission the new mine by 2008. The company has made a preliminary estimate that the project will require US$180 million. (Namibia Economist May 12, 2006)

Trekkopje uranium mine project delayed

Further public meetings have been suspended until problems with the supply of electricity and water for the proposed mine have been resolved. (Allgemeine Zeitung May 9, 2006)

Earthlife calls for more transparency in licensing process

Environmental group, Earthlife Namibia, is calling for greater public consultation between government and the citizenry before the ministry of mines and energy approves the establishment of the Trekkopje uranium mine.
Eathlife Namibia Director Berchin Kohrs told Nampa in an interview that her organization is worried about the low level of transparency and an uncomfortable air of secrecy that has recently surrounded the establishment of uranium mines in Namibia.
'We want this new mine to be transparent and to have no secrecy about their plans and operations. We do not want to see our government approving the mining licence with the same horrible speed that it did with the Langer-Heinrich mine. They must give the public a fair chance to respond to the findings of the environmental impact assessment (EIA),' said Kohrs. She said the construction of a uranium mine anywhere in Namibia should be treated gingerly and any such mine must be seen as a national issue with consultative meetings held at all the major towns in the country. Earthlife is also demanding that the whole uranium mining process, from construction to production and export, should be monitored by an independent expert.
'These processes should be made as transparent as possible. All the processes involved should be explained because we want to know more about the radiation exposure to workers and residents, the mining activities' impact on the quantity and quality of the water at the town (Arandis) as well as the mine's impact on the environment,' she stated. (NAMPA March 13, 2006)

Uramin presents Preliminary Environmental Assessment

On March 6, 2006, Uramin Inc. presented the Preliminary Environmental Assessment for the Trekkopje Uranium Project at a public meeting in the mining town of Arandis. The assessment was prepared by Turgis Consulting (Pty) Ltd . The proposal foresees the mining of 40,000t ore and 10,000 t overburden per day for at least 15 years. The water supply of the proposed mine presents a major challenge. A further meeting will be held in April 2006. (Allgemeine Zeitung Mar. 6, 2006)
The meeting was attended by approx. 200 people. Proponents welcomed the project in view of the forthcoming end of the life of the nearby Rössing uranium mine. Concerns were raised regarding environmental impacts and health effects for miners and residents, but they could not be answered yet. Project Manager Daniel Limpitlaw said "We're not even at the stage of doing a pre-feasibility study yet and the extent and impact of the development can't be predicted right now." (Namibian March 8, 2006)


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