How important is Namibia for mining Chinese investment?

How important is Namibia for mining Chinese investment?

Since the last 6 years, Niger and Areva have been in constant conflict, with rapt of employees, strikes from workers, and protests from the government about the lack of benefits fort the country. In 2014, a new agreement was signed between the government and two subsidiaries of Areva, Comair (Aïr Mining Co.) and Cominak (Akouta Mining Co.) but still protests go on. Niger represents 40% of Areva’s production of uranium.

China General Nuclear got the message for its Namibian investment. China is known in Africa to abuse from its investment and imported human resources despite using local workers. Recent protests in Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Cameroun show growing demonstrations against any Chinese investment and representative.

The Swakop Uranium Corporation, which is promoting the construction of Husab uranium mine, is looking to change this image and to help Namibian society. The subsidiary of CGN Uranium Resources Co., Ltd., Swakop Uranium donated N$200,000 to Emergency Relief Fund of Namibia to help nearly 300,000 drought-affected Namibians.

In 2015, Swakop Uranium donated the same amount with a similar cause. In addition, it had adjusted its procurement policies in favor of Namibian companies to promote localization in order to establish long-term partnerships with the players in the local market during the life of the mine operation.
It will be interesting to observe during the next 24 months if CGN paid this money for corruption and peace, or in contrary, if the company is looking to create a positive outcome of its investment in Namibia.

In May 2012, CGN established Swakop Uranium to take full responsibility of developing and operating Namibia Husab uranium mine project. Husab uranium mine is located in the Namibian Desert in western Namibia, which is considered as one of the major uranium resource exploration in Africa. Its uranium resources reserve ranks the third around the world with the total amount of 286,000 tons triuranium octaoxide (U3O8). Husab mine is the largest industrial investment project of China in Africa. It is not only the landmark project for the trade cooperation between China and Africa, but also the significant project of “One Belt and One Road” strategy. Once the project completed it will satisfy the consumption of natural uranium of 20 GW nuclear power units for nearly 40 years. According to the CEO of Swakop Uranium Zheng Keping, Husab uranium project will be put into commissioning next year.

About Author

Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.