CNUC Rössing Uranium in Namibia is confident that it will continue to be a major supplier of energy to the world, as well as deliver value to stakeholders and shareholders, for a significant number of years to come, an official said on Wednesday.
CNUC Managing Director, Johan Coetzee highlighted this in a statement when he delivered the mine's report to stakeholders for 2019.
According to Coetzee, of the 11% uranium produced by Namibia in 2019 as part of the world's primary production of uranium oxide, CNUC operations produced 3.9%.
"This is a significant achievement for both CNUC and Namibia. 75% of CNUC 's total production was delivered under long-term contracts and several historical spot contracts. The remaining production will be sold during 2020 to China for use in CNNC nuclear reactors," he added.
Despite the company going through many changes, some of these under less-than-favourable operational circumstances, Coetzee said in 2019 they achieved a lot.
He said a total of 22.4 million tonnes of rock was mined, (13% more than in 2018) of which 8.6 million tonnes was economic uranium-bearing ore, (7% more than in 2018), with 13.3 million tonnes waste and low grade ore mined.
"A total of 2,449 tonnes of uranium oxide was produced in 2019, marginally lower when compared with 2018's production of 2,479 tonnes, while ending the year with healthy inventories on site," he added.
Coetzee said that revenue was in line with 2018 at N$2.82 billion. Lower sales volumes were largely offset by a more favourable exchange rate. However, a 15% reduction in operating costs had a positive impact on profits before tax. The reduced costs largely contributed to an improved net profit after tax from normal operations of N$503 million (2018: N$166 million).
"2020 and the next few years will still be challenging, but with our new majority shareholder we are confident that we will build from a solid base, exploring various opportunities to remain a competitive supplier of uranium in the nuclear energy market," he added.
Currently, the mine, as a major employer and purchaser of goods and services, makes a significant annual contribution to economic development in the Erongo Region, in particular.
"Rössing invested N$26 million in Namibian communities during 2019, directly and through the Rössing Foundation. This is a 100% increase compared with the previous year," he added.
Meanwhile in terms of safety, Coetzee said the company remains committed to zero harm and have put rigorous processes and systems in place to ensure that every employee and contractor finishes his or her work day as safely and as healthy as they were when they reported for work.
"As part of Rössing's continuous improvement focus, demanding goals are set in protecting the environment in which the company operates, and conservation measures at the mine are taken seriously, with particular focus on water management and monitoring," he concluded.
On 25 July 2019, CNUC concluded the purchase of Rio Tinto's 68.62% shareholding in Rössing Uranium, with no change in the other minority shareholders. CNUC is a subsidiary of state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation Limited (CNNC), a vertically integrated supplier of nuclear energy to Chinese and international markets.