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AREVA Resources Southern Africa relationship with the Namibian government as an example of where AREVA is successfully partnering with the government and relevant stakeholders in the country in order to meet its business objectives as well as the country's. " Namibia is a very reliable trading partner with transparent business practices and a very high degree of political stability. We know we can make long- term business plans, which is vital for a company like ours." In Namibia, AREVA has a large scale emerging uranium project called Trekkopje Mine, in the vicinity of the town of Swakopmund. The Trekkopje deposit is a shallow, high tonnage, low grade uranium deposit hosted by calcretised palaeochannels. After commissioning next year, the Trekkopje Mine, which has a predicted lifespan in the region of 12 years, will process 100,000 tonnes of crushed ore per day. Barbaglia is keen to stress that creating conditions of economic and environmental sustainability has a special relevance. " As a major industrial player with recognised expertise in the energy sector, it is our responsibility to establish and nurture positive relationships with the government and local institutions wherever we operate." For example, in Namibia, AREVA is building a desalination plant close to the planned mine. It is a highly innovative project- the first of its kind in Southern Africa- and will have the capacity to produce 20 million cubic metres of potable water per annum. While featuring state- of- the- art technology with screen filtration, ultra filtration, reversed osmosis and chemical treatment, the plant will supply the Trekkopje mine with desalinated water, thus allowing AREVA to preserve Namibia's water reserves. This project is a concrete illustration of the group's commitment to environmental responsibility. " Bringing our plans in Namibia to fruition is a major part of our strategy for the future. We have formed an exploration joint venture with the Namibian government which is working extremely well and we expect to undertake many other projects together," he concludes. - Editorial research by Robert Hodgson government and almost 80 per cent of France's domestic power supply is generated through its 58 nuclear reactors. Now, other energy- hungry countries are considering following suit and sharp spikes are anticipated in demand when a number of long- term nuclear projects finally come to fruition over the next decade. Demand is nothing if not buoyant. However, Barbaglia explains that the market for uranium is highly complex. " Last year was marked by the highest level of speculation we have ever seen. There is a producer and a user in an ideal world- intermediaries inevitably have an interest in manipulating the market to their own ends," he says. At present, Barbaglia believes many new entrants are creating the illusion that a flood of uranium will hit the market at prices not worth taking out licences for. The hype which surrounds the oil market, he says, pales by comparison. " Hundreds of feasibility studies have been completed, but the vast majority will never see a gram of uranium extracted. Many junior players are more interested in talking up the market than in actual execution," he says. Barbaglia is of the opinion that a much more realistic relationship needs to be established between the cost of production and the market price. " The spot price is completely unrealistic at the moment, while the long- term price is generally projected as low. Despite the fact that we have lowered our production costs, it is simply not possible to mine at the long term prices which are being touted on stock markets at the present time." He is also keen to stress that for AREVA as a full cycle company, price is only one facet of the equation. Security of supply is everything and this means that geographical diversification is fundamental. As such, AREVA often operates in diverse countries with varying socio- political as well as cultural contexts. However, Barbaglia also points out that AREVA's differentiation allows for the group to adequately cover for both the technical and political difficulties it may face in the various countries in which it operates. Barbaglia cites AREVA Resources Southern Africa's March 10 www. bus- ex. com 123 As the EPCM contractor, Bateman Engineering is currently involved in the close out of the ' Midi' project to build a three million ton heap leach facility for AREVA Resources Namibia's Trekkopje project. Construction of the three million ton heap leach facility is complete and commissioning is about to commence. Engineering and procurement for the ' Maxi' project is underway to provide the 36 million t/ yr heap leach facility. Bateman Engineering