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The uranium boom in Namibia - rise of a new giant

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2012, Vol. 332, No. 1, pp. 354-369

Mischo, H.; Ellmies, R.


Uranium has been mined in Namibia since the 1970s. The worldwide increasing need for energy in the early 2000s has led to the development and opening of a second uranium mine in 2007 and has triggered an increased interest in uranium exploration, often referred to as “the Namibian Uranium Rush.” In all, four mining licenses have been granted by the Namibian Government, which currently has two mines in operation, a third undertaking trial mining and the fourth in project finance negotiations. In addition, highly intensive prospecting activities at additional deposits are at an advanced stage. The finalization of the strategic environmental impact assessment (SEA) on uranium mining in 2010, the first of its kind and scale in the world, has enabled the Namibian government to assess this uranium rush and its tremendous legal, socioeconomic and environmental impacts and to prepare for the different future scenarios conceivable when this article was written in 2011, including both a skyrocketing and a complete breakdown of demand scenario. The Fukushima disaster and plans of the Namibian government to significantly increase royalties and company taxes in 2011 have threatened the market situation, forcing investors to reevaluate Namibian uranium mining projects. However, with the tax and royalty increase initiative since withdrawn, most projects are back on track at this point in time.