Namibia Can Power Itself With Uranium, Lawmaker Says

by Victor Adetimilehin

Namibia, the world’s second-largest producer of uranium, has enough of the mineral to meet its own energy needs, a lawmaker said on Monday. Tjekero Tweya, the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on natural resources, made the remark during a visit to the Erongo region, where most of the country’s uranium mines are located.

He said Namibia should change its mindset and use its uranium resources to address its energy deficit, which stands at 60%. “The resources that we have to address this energy need is here in Namibia and it is uranium. The time has come to change our mindset in terms of our resources,” he said. Namibia has been struggling with power shortages and relies on imports from neighboring countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The country has one coal-fired power plant and several hydroelectric and solar plants, but they are not enough to meet the growing demand. Namibia also has plans to build a nuclear power plant, but they have been delayed by environmental and safety concerns. Tweya said Namibia should learn from other countries that have successfully used nuclear energy, such as France and China. He also urged the government and the mining industry to work together to ensure the sustainable and responsible development of the uranium sector.

He said there were loopholes in the law that needed to be corrected and not just criticized. “We must start talking to each other to provide alternative solutions to change the livelihoods of our people, who have given us the right and honor to be called Honorables,” he said. Namibia’s uranium sector has been hit by low prices and the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced some mines to shut down or reduce operations. However, the sector has also seen some positive developments, such as the acquisition of Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) by Impala Platinum (Implats) in a $1.6 billion deal that created one of the largest platinum group metals producers in the world.

RBPlat’s former CEO, Steve Phiri, was recently appointed as a nonexecutive director of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s largest platinum producer. Tweya praised Phiri’s leadership skills and experience in the mining sector and welcomed him to Amplats’ board. He also expressed his hope that Namibia’s uranium sector would recover from the challenges and contribute to the country’s economic growth and social development.

Source: [AllAfrica]

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