Rössing uranium mine gets 10-year life extension

28 February 2023

The board of Rössing Uranium Ltd has approved an extension of the operating life of the Namibian uranium mine until 2036 following the completion of a feasibility study.

Johan Coetzee discussed the extension on Namibia's public broadcasting service, NBC (Image: Rössing Uranium)

"It gives me great pleasure to announce that on 22 February 2023, following the completion of the bankable feasibility study, the Board approved the Life of Mine Extension from 2026 to 2036 and the recommended operating model. This provides Rössing with a new lease of life and translates to the continuation of various macro-economic benefits for its stakeholders," Rössing Uranium Managing Director Johan Coetzee said.

Rössing - Namibia's first commercial uranium mine - started production in 1976. Despite a planned life-of-mine (LOM) to 2025, the company's previous majority shareholder, Rio Tinto, had considered an earlier closure date of 2020. However, Rio Tinto sold its majority shareholding to China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC) in 2019, and in 2021 Rössing began the study to evaluate the feasibility of extending the LOM beyond 2026, underpinned by an extension of the open pit, referred to as the Phase 4 push-back. This will be achieved under the 15-year extension of the Rössing Mining Licence to July 2036, which was approved by Namibia's Ministry of Mines and Energy in 2021.

Coetzee said work on the push-back will start this year, as uranium production continues from the current operations which are known as Phase 2 and Phase 3. Production will then begin from Phase 4 in 2026.

Rössing produced 6.4 million pounds U3O8 (2462 tU) in 2021. According to company information, A total of 1.5 million pounds were shipped to western converters and sold to customers in North America, Asia (excluding China) and Europe, the Middle East and Africa; 4.6 million pounds were shipped to China and sold to China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), and an additional 0.6 million pounds were sold in the spot market. The company has an offtake agreement with CNNC, of which CNUC is a subsidiary.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News