Namibia building major desalination plant to boost uranium mining
After years of bickering and redrafting of contracts, Namibia's long-anticipated move toward large-scale desalination is set to become a reality, supplying water for homes as well as for the country's uranium mining industry.The country's water utility and French company UraMin signed an agreement Friday to build a 250 million Namibian dollar (nearly US$40 million) sea water intake and brine disposal pipeline to support a 715 million Namibian dollar (US$110 million) sea water desalination facility. It will be located in the coastal town of Swakopmund."The facility will supply water to UraMin's proposed Trekkopje mine as well as to Namwater's clients in the coastal areas of Namibia," Vaino Shivute, chief executive officer of the water utility, told reporters Friday.Most uranium finds are in the country's Namib Desert. High water costs can make uranium mining costly and uneconomic.Shivute said they expect to produce 45 million cubic meter(1,575 cubic feet) of water a year, with 25 million cubic meters earmarked for Namwater clients and the rest going to UraMin, whose uranium mine is expected to come on line in early 2008.