Did you know that Namibia has two significant uranium mines capable of providing 10% of world mining output.
There is strong government support for expanding uranium mining and some interest in using nuclear power.
Uranium was discovered in the Namib Desert in 1928, but was not until intensive exploration got under way in the late 1950s that much interest was shown in Rössing. Rio Tinto discovered numerous uranium occurrences and in 1966 took the rights over the low-grade Rössing deposit.
The Rössing Uranium Mine in Namibia is the longest-running and one of the largest open pit uranium mines in the world and is located in the Namib Desert near the town of Arandis, which is 70 kilometres from the coastal town of Swakopmund.
Over 2011-12 a Strategic Environmental Assessment was undertaken over the whole uranium province inland from Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. One of the aspects of the Strategic Environmental Management Plan is water supply. Since 2010 water has been supplied to Trekkopje from a coastal desalination plant in the Erongo region with about 20 million m3 per year output and requiring 16 MWe from the grid. Some of this water is available to other mines, and agreements have been signed with Namibian Water Corp for Rössing, Langer Heinrich and Husab.
The plant is owned by Erongo Desalination Company and there is talk of the government setting up plans to start building a second plant adjacent, with 60 million m3 per year capacity. This will be a public-private partnership project costing $145 million, with Namibia Water holding 30% initially.