New technology crucial to cut uranium production cost

To improve the operating costs of uranium mines in the future, the industry is looking at new technologies such as Nano-filtration as well as enhancing the use of acid in uranium oxide production.
Giving a background of how the uranium sector wants to meet the future through improved efficiencies was Mr. Werner Duvenhage, the Managing Director of Rössing Uranium, during the recent Uranium 2017 International Conference in Swakopmund.
The conference was organised by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), in collaboration with the Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), the Namibian Uranium Institute and the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST). Various uranium mining stakeholders addressed delegates at the conference.
Duvenhage made a presentation titled: “Uranium in Namibia: The past, present and future.” Duvenhage discussed the trends in uranium mining and shared some background on the history of uranium mining activities in Namibia from 1928 to 2011. The year 2011 was a fateful year for the global uranium industry, when the Fukushima nuclear accident happened in Japan after a devastating tsunami.
Duvenhage also compared production between Namibia’s two longest-operating uranium mines, Rössing Uranium and Langer Heinrich Uranium. He also highlighted the expected future contribution of Swakop Uranium’s Husab Mine to the sector.
He reflected on the uranium market, from the boom in the period 1960 to the 80s, to the busts in the market following the Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima incidents (2011) and the Kazakstani and Chinese impact on the uranium market. He also discussed the future of markets in the case of persistent oversupply scenarios (simple market dynamics) and the resultant continued uncertainty and volatility that will remain.
Duvenhage’s presentation also highlighted Rössing Uranium’s socio-economic reach and support of Government’s national development programs. Specifically, that Rössing’s economic contribution was at 1.2% of Namibia’s GDP in 2016, whilst the mine contributed significantly to infrastructure development over its 41 years of production – acting as a catalyst for other industries.

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