Areva inaugurates Namibian desalination plant

20 April 2010

Areva has inaugurated the first seawater desalination plant in Namibia in a ceremony attended by the country's minister of trade and industry, Hage Geingob, and Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon. The plant will produce some 20 million cubic metres of potable water per year - sufficient to allow Areva to operate its Trekkopje uranium mine without having to pump any water from the soil. Bloomberg reported that Lauvergeon said the desalination plant - which is jointly owned by Areva and local company United Africa Group - will also be able to supply about 6 million cubic metres of water annually to other miners in Namibia's Erongo region. She said that state-owned water supplier Namwater will be able to buy the excess water to supply other mines, ensuring that a water shortage does not harm uranium supplies. Rio Tinto's Rossing and Paladin Energy's Langer Heinrich are the two largest uranium mines currently operating in Namibia. Areva's Trekkopje mine is expected to start production in 2012, with an initial output of 3000 tonnes of uranium ore per year.