SWAKOPMUND: The start of the Trekkopje mine project has been postponed indefinitely, AREVA Resources Namibia announced on Thursday.
“Considering both the continued decrease of uranium prices coupled with the investments yet to be made on site, AREVA has no other option but to postpone the launch of the Trekkopje mine,” the company indicated in a media statement.
The Trekkopje mine is situated north of Swakopmund.
AREVA said the decline in uranium prices in October last year, forced a slowdown of production at the Trekkopje project.
The decline of the prices came as a result of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant in Japan last year.
According to the statement, all actual construction work at the mine will be completed at the end of December this year.
All existing installations including the pilot project ‘MIDI’ and final phases of the ‘MAXI’ will be put under a N.dollars 872 million structured care and maintenance programme per year, with the objective to restart the project as soon as the overall market environment allows it.
Approached for comment, AREVA’s Country Manager, Hilifa Mbako, explained that the maintenance programme is directed at keeping the mine in such a condition that when the project will be restarted, it will be in such a condition that construction can continue normally.
“We cannot be closing something that was not opened, as the company was still busy with the construction process of the Trekkopje mine project,” he said.
While AREVA will make its best efforts to preserve employment, accompanying measures will be offered to those employees affected by the decision.
Asked how many people will be affected by the closing of the project, Mbako told Nampa that it is still too early to say how many people will be affected.
AREVA has about 150 permanent workers and 1 800 employees working for contractors.
Mbako indicated that AREVA is committed to staying in Namibia, and the company will continue to be involved with its social responsibility towards communities in the Erongo Region.
Furthermore, the company’s desalination plant will remain in operation to produce water for local industries and populations.
Mbako added that any surplus water generated by the plant will be made available to the surrounding users, whilst the company is waiting for the project’s economy to improve.