CORRECTED: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the UNESCO WHC had agreed to consider a boundary change. In fact the boundary change itself has been approved, as described below.
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee (WHC) has approved a boundary change to the Selous Reserve of Tanzania in a step towards development of the Mkuju River uranium property. The potential mine remains subject to a mining licence application by Uranium One.
Tanzanian officials applied to the WHC in January 2011, asking it to consider allowing the development. The WHC committee this week discussed the request and reviewed the project's environmental impact assessment before deciding to remove the Mkuju River property and an adjacent buffer zone from the Selous Reserve. The committee said the impacts of the project would be limited and mitigated.
The Mkuju River uranium project is led by Uranium One on behalf of its 51% shareholder AtomRedMetZoloto, which acquired Mkuju River when it purchased Mantra Resources in June last year. The deposits there were identified in the late 1970s and early 1980s and current studies show indicated resources of 36,000 tonnes of uranium with another 10,000 tonnes of inferred resources.
An application to begin mining at Mkuju River is currently with the Tanzanian government and a revised feasibility study is due this year.
The 50,000 square kilometer reserve is home to large numbers of elephants, black rhinoceroces, cheetahs, giraffes, hippopotamuses and crocodiles. Tanzania's minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Suedi Kagasheki, welcomed the progress, noting that the area involved represented only 0.8% of the vast reserve and that development would give Tanzania "the ability and opportunity to fulfill its social and economic goals for citizens."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News