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130 www. bus- ex. com November 09 Fareunaeisslalninceg

Rössing Uranium November 09 www. bus- ex. com 131 The Rössing Uranium Mine, part of the Rio Tinto Group, is enjoying a renaissance as global demand for uranium soars. Werner Ewald, manager of Mine Operations, talked to Jayne Flannery about the new ethical face of mining which regulates the sale of uranium oxide. Since mining began in 1976, Rössing has seen its fortunes rise and decline several times in line with the fickle nature of commodity prices; on several occasions, it has been under threat of closure. Today, it is riding on something approaching the crest of a wave. Early in the millennium, it looked as if the operation to recover uranium was no longer economically viable. " We had plans to close down the mine," says Werner Ewald, manager of Mine Operations. " Then in 2005, the world market for uranium began to recover. We have since seen a total renaissance in demand as well as putting in many new measures to increase our efficiency. Now the mine is forecast to have a working life that will continue until at least 2023." In 2008, Rössing produced 4,108 tonnes, its highest output in the past 20 years, and there are plans to increase production of uranium oxide to 4,500 tonnes by 2012. " Rössing Uranium is now on a clear path of growth with plans to expand next year," declares Ewald. U ranium is a common element that is found in the earth all over the world. When processed into uranium oxide ( U3O8), it is a fundamental building block in the creation of nuclear energy. Nature has blessed Namibia with an unusually rich endowment of this natural resource. The Rössing Mine, close to the small town of Arandis in the Erongo region of the Namib Desert, is one of two uranium mines within the Rio Tinto Group. This single source produces a mighty eight per cent of the world's primary produced uranium oxide. At present, approximately 4,000 tonnes of uranium oxide leave the mine each year. Last year, the wealth created by Rössing through the sale of its uranium oxide, payment for services and materials, taxes to the government of Namibia and investments made in the community in which the mine operates, totalled N$ 2.8 billion. The company's customers include nuclear power utilities in North America, Europe, Asia and Japan. All deliveries are made in strict accord with international safeguards and Namibia is a signatory of the UN Non- Proliferation Treaty,