Rössing-China deal expected by mid-2019

Floris Steenkamp

The Rössing mine which is 100 % owned by Rössing Uranium Limited (RUL) will be majority Chinese-owned by mid-year, Rio Tinto Rössing said in a media statement this week.

Rio Tinto, which owns the majority of 69 % in RUL, announced in November last year a sales agreement with China National Uranium Cor-poration (CNUC) whereby this Chinese uranium entity would purchase 68,62 of Rio Tinto’s shareholding.
In the statement on Tuesday the Mine cautioned though the sale is still subject to among others approval by the Namibia Competitions Commission and should the green light be given this sales agreement would be finalised before mid-2019.
The full spectrum of current shareholding in Rössing Mine is as fol-lows: Rio Tinto owns the majority of 69 per cent in Rössing Uranium Limited. The Namibian Government has a 3 per cent share-holding, but it has the majority (51 per cent) when it comes to voting rights. The Iranian Foreign Investment Company (IFIC) is a non-taking right investor in Rössing Uranium, holding a 15 per cent stake that goes back to the early 1970s before the over-throwing of the Shah of Iran (1979) and the country’s subsequent gradual separation from the West.
The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa owns 10 per cent, while local individual shareholders own a combined 3 per cent shareholding.
The full statement reads as follows: Rössing has the world’s longest-running open pit uranium mine.
Operating since 1976, the Rössing business has produced the most uranium of any single mine. Rössing produces and exports uranium oxide from Namibia to nuclear power utilities around the world.
Rössing Uranium Limited reported that its uranium production in 2018 increased by 17 percent compared to 2017, as a result of higher milling grades.
The year also ended with strong safety performance with zero injuries in December.
Rössing managing director Richard Storrie said “I would like to pay tribute to every member of the team at Rössing for their diligence and focus over the past few months which has led to this excellent operational and safety performance.
Rio Tinto, Rössing’s majority owner, announced on 26 November 2018 that it had entered into a binding agreement to sell its 68.62 per cent stake in the uranium mine to China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC).
Storrie said “The sale process continues, but we have already had positive discussions with CNUC, and they have stressed their intention to develop the mine as a sustainable business into the future.
“The top priority for me and all the team remains operating a safe and productive mine that continues to meet the needs of our customers.”
The sale is subject to certain conditions precedent, including merger approval from the Namibian Competition Commission. Subject to these conditions being met, the transaction is expected to complete in the first half of 2019”.

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