Areva insists Namibian desalination plant is for sale

Areva Resources has denied recent reports that it plans to give, free of charge, its desalination plant at Wlotzkabaken in Namibia to the south-west African country’s government. The Paris-based infrastructure company insisted it intended to sell the N$ 3 billion (US$ 250 million) desalination plant to Namibia.

Areva constructed the desalination plant about 30 km north of Swakopmund, to supply water to mines in Erongo and to alleviate water shortages in a region that has no perennial rivers.

Chief executive officer of Areva Resources, Hilifa Mbako said the plant was offered for sale to the government last December for an undisclosed sum. “We are not planning to make any profit from the sale but one must take into account the cost at which the facility was constructed, which makes it clear that it cannot just be offered freely. The cost must at least be recovered,” Mbako said.

He said the plant currently supplies Husab and Rössing Uranium mines with water and would continue to do so if the deal with the government is completed.

He said that Areva was not compelled to sell the plant and can keep it “but due to the fact that water is a basic need, it should be in the hands of the government”, he said.
The plant has a design capacity of 20 million cubic metres a year. Erongo’s annual demand is at least 11 million cubic metres of water.

Due to the massive transformation the Erongo region is undergoing, by 2020 the water demand for water is expected to have increased from the current 6 million a year to 32 million cubic metres a year.