Rössing Uranium phase 4 set to start in 2027

Martin Endjala

Phase 4 of the Rössing Uranium mine near Swakopmund will be fully operational in 2027 following a 13-year contract agreement signed in May this year with Biefang Mining Technology Services after the board approved it in February.

This agreement will extend the life of the mine to 2036.

The mine has been in existence since its inception in 1976 and has been mining on phase 2 and phase 3 pits which will reach its end in 2026.

The 13-year contract is matched with the ten-year life cycle of the mining equipment.

“After a feasibility study, we conducted which was very helpful for the continuation of the mine. Although we keep it going, we realise that it is not going to last very long. So, we knew that if we want it to go beyond 2026, we needed to buy a new replacement pit or find a mining contractor,” said the Managing Director, Johan Coetzee during an interview.

This is due to the fact that the mine has reached a 410-metre-deep pit with an extra optional 600-metre-deep pit which is the deepest they can go.

As a result, they then started looking at contractors who are interested to submit their proposals, So far, 20 contractors expressed their interest leading to only three contractors with one being a Namibian company.

However, due to the demand of the mine, the two contractors withdrew their interest because the operation is too big for them.

Beifang Mining Technology Services Namibia was selected as the suitable option given its track record and the mine workers union which represents the majority of workers.

“We worked strictly with the tender policy, to see if they will employ Namibians and they actually have an agreement with the mine workers union, so we felt comfortable with them and that’s how we ended up with them,” said the MD.

To allow them to work safely at the bottom of the pit, the company is going to put up a five-meter fence at the trolly level estimated to cost the company N$50 million while Biefang will mine at the upper trolly level.

Coetzee said that if they did not opt for this, solution value would be destroyed. He also said that this new option which works for them will enable the company to secure jobs for the next ten years.

In the clause agreement, the contractor will employ 95 percent meaning that Rössing Uranium will have to reduce its workforce and let some of its workers on the mining side go.

“We have reduced the workforce to 400 on the mining side. We already offered them severance packages to find other jobs and they have three and a half years to do that with new opportunities opening up at the Langer Heinrich Mine in 2024. So, all we are really saying is you have enough time to find a job elsewhere and we will pay you a nice package,” the MD added.

Biefang Mining Technology Services Namibia (Pty) Ltd is the operating platform where the integration project of uranium mine blasting is undertaken at Husab, Namibia.
As the second largest uranium mine in the world, Husab Uranium Mine in Namibia is the largest Chinese mine investment project in Africa.

The Husab Uranium Mine Ground Station has obtained the emulsion explosive production license issued by Namibia’s State Explosive Bureau, which is the first company to be issued with this license in Namibia.

Currently, the majority shareholder is China National Uranium Corporation Limited (CNUC) with 68.62 percent while the government holds 3.4 percent of the shares.

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