Second desalination plant in offing

Tujoromajo Kasuto

Government is currently engaged in negotiations with the private sector to set up a new desalination plant as a joint project by four uranium mines, Chamber of Mines of Namibia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Veston Malango has revealed.

‘’The mines have joined forces together to make a proposal to the chamber of mines, expressing their desire to invest in such a desalination plant. We are not in the business of making and selling water because that is the prerogative of Namwater. If the private sector is allowed to build a desalination plant like the current one, we believe it is the right way to go because it relieves government pressure to make those investments, which is in line with Harambee Prosperity Plan 2, which talks about the importance of water for uranium mining,’’ said Malango.

He also stated that last year and the beginning of this year, they completed an economic assessment on the impact of lost opportunities if the government does not come to the party and engaged research firm Cirrus Capital, and that the results will be released publicly once the engagements are completed.

He did, however, reveal that if Namibia did not have water in time for exploration, the loss of opportunities would be enormous, as there are over six potential investors interested in the project.

This comes after it has been reported in the media that the government is set to proceed with the procurement of a second multi-billion-dollar desalination plant to be constructed at the coast in partnership with NamWater.

Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein has been quoted stating that the feasibility study for the construction of a new desalination plant has been completed and shows that an additional desalination plant is viable and needed but however none of the plans have materialised yet.

‘’The government is already on the way to implement this and then they now don’t have to bear the cost of that. The economic benefits of these investments are too immense and the country cannot afford to miss out and we are only awaiting the government to give us the greenlight,’’ Malango said.

This follows the Government’s failure to acquire the Orano Resources (previously Areva Resources Namibia) over the N$3 billion price tag placed on its desalination water plant.

The Orano desalination plant was originally built in Swakopmund to supply water to Orano’s Trekkopje mine. It is the first desalination plant to be constructed in southern Africa.

It has the capacity to produce 20 million cubic metres of potable water per year with a potential increase capacity to 45 million cubic metres. It currently provides the bulk of drinking water to Swakopmund, as well as nearby uranium mines.

Botswana and Namibia have been linked to plans to partner in the construction of a modern desalination plant to supply water to the two countries which however has also not materialised. Desalination involves the removal of salt from seawater and the purification of the water so it can be fit for human consumption.

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