Namibian community benefits from Rössing reservoirs

03 May 2022

Six new reservoirs at Rössing Uranium Limited will ease pressure on state-owned water utility NamWater's system and will be able to supply water to a local community as well as enabling mine operations to continue during periods of extended water supply interruptions.

The inauguration ceremony (Image: Rössing Uranium Limited)

Water is a key commodity for uranium production at Rössing, 12 km from the town of Arandis and 70 km inland from the coastal town of Swakopmund, in Namibia's Erongo Region. Three of NamWater's reservoirs are currently used to supply both Arandis and the mine with fresh water and also to provide buffer capacity when so-called sulphur outbreaks occur in the sea off the Namibian coast and a desalination plant - built by Orano - is unable to operate. In those circumstances, buffer capacity is reserved for Arandis once reservoirs fall to a certain level and the mine has to cease operations until levels recover.

Rössing Uranium received approval in 2020 to build six reservoirs to complement the storage capacity that is provided by NamWater's reservoirs. This will enable the mine to continue with production for an additional seven days during periods of extended water supply outages as well as ensuring sufficient water for the community of Arandis, the company said. The NAD100 million (USD6.3 million) investment has already enabled the mine to sustain operations during a planned maintenance shutdown of the Orano plant in late 2021.

The reservoirs were formally inaugurated by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Carl Schlettwein.

Uranium mining began at Rössing in 1976. The company has been majority-owned by China National Uranium Corporation Limited - a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation Limited - since 2019.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News