Published on Friday October 12 2012 (AEST)
Energy giant Areva said Thursday it is suspending work at a new Namibian uranium mine currently under construction due to low uranium prices. “Areva will postpone the launch of the Trekkopje mine until the project's economy improves,” the Namibian office of Areva said in a statement.
The French company cited a decrease in uranium prices coupled with the scale of investments yet to be made on site as reasons for the move. “In October 2011, the decline in uranium prices resulting from the nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan forced a slowdown,” a statement said.
The mine is situated in the Namib Desert, some 300 kilometres (190 miles) west of the capital Windhoek. Construction work already underway will be completed by the end of December 2012, while existing installations will be put under a $10 million a year structured care and maintenance programme.
The objective is to “restart the project in the best possible conditions as soon as the overall market environment allows it,” Areva said. The decision could mean job losses, but the firm said it would offer “accompanying measures” to affected workers. “Areva is committed to stay in Namibia over the long term,” it said.