Mine wants state desalination plant despite OK for own project

Namibian mining company, Rössing Uranium, has restated its preference for procuring water from national water utility, Namwater, despite having completed a feasibility study of its planned desalination plant north of Swakopmund.

Rössing’s managing director, Werner Duvenhage, was reported by the Economist as telling stakeholders: “The feasibility study for the desalination plant has been completed as well as environmental impact assessment approval. Full approval for the project is still pending.” Yet he went on to repeat the company’s preference for the government to realise its plans to either build a desalination plant or acquire the facility built by Areva Namibia for its uranium mine at Trekkopje which is currently mothballed because of low uranium prices.

Areva Namibia said that discussions with the Namibian government for the sale of the plant were at “an advanced stage”. ”

We believe in the government’s intention to acquire the plant, as it is their ultimate responsibility to ensure bulk water supply,” said Areva.

Rössing has investigated a pipeline and a channel as option for transporting water to the plant. A seawater receiving tank or an existing salt works pond would serve as a site for a dissolved air flotation pre-treatment plant The seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant wold have a capacity of about 8,200 m³/d.

Discharge options under consideration, include “beach disposal” and “sea disposal” within the lining Licence area of the Swakopmund Salt Works.