Namibia Uranium Association (NUA) provided 3 000 permanent, and about 2 300 contractor jobs in the Namibian uranium industry last year.
This comes in the background of critical voices that have questioned President Hage Geingob on whether Namibia was gaining much out of its uranium resources.
Said NUA chairperson, Hilifa Mbako, “There are countless economic spin-offs as a result of the presence of uranium mining and exploration operations in the region. All of this is complemented by the many corporate social responsibility projects carried out by uranium companies.”
“With a depressed market and uranium prices hovering around US$ 20 for most of the year, the Namibian uranium industry was characterised during 2017 by streamlining the operations in order to meet the challenges,” he added.
He said there is reason for cautious optimism following the announcement of a 20% uranium production cut by Kazakhstan for a period of 3 years and the temporarily suspended production from Cameco’s McArthur River mining operations in Canada.
The spot price increased by 32.5%, however it has come down again, albeit not to the level where it was before.
Mbako believes that the development of nuclear energy worldwide is strong and there is a lot more to come in 2018 with many start-ups in the pipeline, more newcomer countries introducing nuclear power and innovative technologies in development.
“More than 15 GW of new nuclear capacity is expected to start delivering electricity in 2018, three times the average level seen over the previous 25 years. Members of the NUA accept product stewardship as a pillar that supports the overarching concept of sustainable development.”
“In this way, the association makes a lasting contribution to the socio-economic development of Namibia while at the same time minimizing the environmental footprint,” he said.
He added that the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s strategic environmental management plan, which is assessing the environmental performance of exploration and mining activities, was once again implemented in 2017 with active participation of the uranium industry.
The association whose members are operating in the sensitive arid environment of the central Namib Desert, is also an active participant in the new Environmental Committee of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia.