Rössing Uranium launched its 45-year legacy book in Swakopmund on Wednesday this week.
The 270 pages book documents the history and contributions of Rössing Uranium to Namibia’s socio-economic footprint over the past 45 years (1976 -2021).
In his opening remarks, Rössing Uranium Board Chairperson Steve Galloway mentioned how privileged he is to be associated with Rössing Uranium and to chair the Board.
Galloway said the pioneers envisioned a dream of establishing a world-class, responsible mining organisation that would shape and guide future generations of Namibian mining professionals, who set best practice standards not just in mining but also in health, safety and environmental
management and corporate, social responsibility.
“Thousands of Namibians will attest to the impact Rössing Uranium, and the Foundation has had on their lives, including many now prominent private and public sector leaders,” he said.
During her keynote address, mines deputy minister Kornelia Shilunga highlighted Rössing Uranium’s key developments and projects over the four and a half decades.
Shilunga said the life of ine extension is the beacon of hope for Rössing and requires the support of many stakeholders to make it a reality, starting with the recently approved Mine Licence (ML28) extension to 2036, which our ministry of mines and energy granted.
“We are looking forward to the completion of the feasibility study toward the end of the year because this outcome will determine the future of the mine beyond 2026,” she said
Some of the key highlights from the book are how Rössing contributed an operating theatre to the Marie Douglas Heim in Swakopmund, which was rewired and the whole building renovated and equipped in 1980.
The book also talks about how the Cottage Hospital (now renamed Medi Clinic and privately owned) started functioning for all Rössing employees and dependents in 1984.
According to the book, the thirty-bed hospital had infrastructure sufficient to cope with all the needs of Rössing employees.
Rössing Uranium established the Rössing Foundation in 1978 through a Deed of Trust.
The Foundation was established to oversee and implement many of Rössing Uranium’s corporate social responsibilities in Namibia. It was and is still funded with contributions by the mine, and the projects and initiatives implemented countrywide since then are a legacy story on their own. The Rössing Foundation has centres in Arandis, Swakopmund and Ondangwa, offering English, science and math classes.
As an independent gift to Namibia, in 1991, Rössing constructed the Namibia School of Mining Technology, known as NIMT, at the cost of N$6 million.
The school aimed to provide Namibians with technical skills essential to the mining industry and its support industries. The main need identified at that time was the training of artisans and technicians in engineering, mining, metallurgy, geology, survey, draughtsmanship and chemistry. NIMT continues to operate and is known to produce the most sought-after artisans in mining and other industries.
Rössing Foundation opened a centre in Lüderitz in May 1990, which was officially inaugurated by the Founding Father and then President of Namibia, Dr Sam Nujoma, who in his speech said, “It is only right and proper that profits generated by the mines should be used for the development of the Namibian people and I find it particularly
pleasing that a mining company has for so many years followed a policy of putting efforts and money into developing the other two major pillars of our society, namely fishing and agriculture.”
The Rössing Foundation opened an Agricultural Training Centre at Okashana in northern Namibia in 1991. The centre offered courses in animal husbandry and crop cultivation to farmers. It also served as an experimental centre at which the viability of introducing new crops in the region could be tested.
In 1996, the Foundation handed the entire infrastructure over to the Government of Namibia, including the human resources, to continue with the activities as per the government’s developmental goals.
Currently, the centre is run by two ministries of local government, housing, urban and rural development and the ministry of agriculture, water and land reform.
In 1996 the Rössing Foundation handed over to government through the ministry of fisheries and marine resources the Maritime Training Centre in Lüderitz.
Health and safety have been a priority for Rössing Uranium since the early days. The mine donated a computer and software to Windhoek State Hospital for use by the Head of the Oncology Department. The Oncology Clinic, which had been gathering statistics on cancer patients, could not analyse the data before the donation.
In addition to donating N$200,000 to the ministry of health and social services and protective gear to the Swakopmund State Hospital, Rössing procured and delivered an oxygen generating plant valued at close to N$3.8 million to the new COVID-19 isolation facility at Walvis Bay State Hospital.