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By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus

The Namibia Agricultural Union has consulted a geologist to provide further information on the underground water and the impact of the uranium extraction process.

In the release by the union, this week has indicated that they have got the service of veteran geologist Roy Miller to present to the farmers on the challenges faced.

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) explained that various entities approached it to support the Namibian landowners, including commercial farmers (crop, livestock, and game).

Moreover, communal areas, tourism entities, towns, etc., in their endeavours to investigate, explain, and prevent possible uranium in-situ leaching activities impacting the underground aquifers of the Stampriet Artesian Basin (SAB).

According to the various descriptions on mining sites, in-situ leaching is a mining process used to recover minerals such as copper and uranium through boreholes drilled into a deposit involving injecting chemicals into an aquifer that contains a uranium ore body (i.e. deposit).

According to NAU, the basin (SAB) spans south-eastern Namibia and extends into Botswana and South Africa.

“The underground water is the lifeblood of this arid and waterless region,” wrote the union.

They explained that the uranium occurs underground in the high-quality drinking water of the aquifers in the SAB.

Explaining that the radioactive substances in the drinking water will have disastrous effects on lives and livelihoods.

With the presentation, NAU indicated Namibians and people abroad need to be made aware of possible consequences before issuing an Environmental Clearance Certificate by Namibian Authorities.

This is continuing while an underground pilot project, acid leaching of uranium in this fragile environment.

NAU highlighted that leakage of the acid and dissolved uranium into the aquifers beyond the mining areas would render the water unusable for many decades in extended parts of the aquifer.

“Can Namibia afford to allow acid leaching and potential extensive contamination by uranium and associated heavy metals of a critical underground water recourse in a water-restriction area in exchange for short-term financial gain?” NAU wrote.

The presentation will be held on the 29 October at NAU offices.

The union interventions are coming when some farmers in the Leonardville area have raised concern with the activities of the Russian state-owned company.

The Villager reported last week that the farmers say Rosatom’s uranium preliminary activities have damaged their land.

Leonardville is in the Omaheke region and is about 245km from the capital Windhoek.

The company has applied for a permit to mine uranium in the country’s east, especially Leonardville.

While Environmental Commissioner Timotheus Mufeti stated the company is now in the process of applying for mining.

He was quoted saying, “Namibia depends on its underground water resources”.

Mufeti said as a regulatory institution, they will not allow any activity that has the potential to pollute or impact our underground resources.

He said that once the application is launched with the ministry, they will consult with their partners, such as the agriculture ministry, to see the impacts before approving or denying them.

Namibia is in the top five uranium producers globally, with most of it being shipped to China.

The country adds no value to the yellowcake apart from loading it into drums and shipping it to China to become inputs into the Asian biggest economy nuclear energy production.

There were, however, talks of developing nuclear power plants in the country to utilise the uranium, they did not get much backing in the country.

In terms of trade patterns for August, as captured by the country statistics agency, uranium is one of Namibia foreign currency earners after copper, diamonds, gold and fish monthly.

More than 70% of Namibian depends on agriculture for their livelihood and is also the main employer.

According to the latest agricultural report by Namibia Statistics Agency, the country also struggles with food insecurity, importing almost everything from cereals, vegetables, fruits, and beef. Email:

Julia Heita

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