- Published Date
- Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa
- Hits: 901
More than two years after the commissioning of the Erongo Desalination plant, Areva says negotiations on the offtake agreement with water utility, NamWater, are still ongoing.
Hilifa Mbako, the Country Manager for AREVA Resources Namibia, a 50:50 joint venture partner with the United Africa Group in the plant, told The Economist on Tuesday that they were confident of reaching an agreement soon despite the protracted negotiations.
Mbako could, however, not shed more light on the reasons for the delay in reaching an agreement citing confidentiality. He said: “The negotiations with NamWater are ongoing, and we are confident of reaching an agreement soon. “We have a confidentiality agreement in place not to divulge any of the components of the negotiations.”
It is, however, widely understood that pricing of the water by the owners of the plant has been the major stumbling block to an agreement with NamWater, local authorities and some of the mines in the region.
Problems with an off take agreement of the first desalination plant in the country, built at a cost of N$1.8 billion, has not dettered the construction of a second desalination plant. Abraham Nehemia, the Under Secretary in the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry recently told this newspaper that construction of the second plant would start soon after the tender for the N$2 billion project closed at the end of June. Nehemia said government was working towards water flowing from the plant, to be built through a Public Private Partnership, in 2014.
Mbako said a second desalination plant will have no material effect on the existence and operation of the Erongo Desalination plant, primarily because it was built to supply water to the Trekkopje Mine. He added: “We imagine there will always be more demand than supply of water in the dry Erongo Region. There are more companies willing to take water from the Erongo Desalination plant than we can actually supply.”
The Erongo Desalination plant was built after studies showed that water reservoirs in the Erongo Region, home to some of the country’s major mines, were dwindling.
The plant has a current capacity of 20 million m3 water per annum ,and Areva’s Trekkopje Mine, is expected to use 13 million m3 water per annum once it goes into full production.
At the moment, says Mbako, the product water offtake is very low, less than 1 million cubic metres, as Areva is currently in the construction phase of the project. “As such we do not currently need the high volumes that the plant has been designed to produce when the mine is in operation. We have only fitted 4 of the 9 trains with reverse osmosis membranes simply because we only need one train to supply the total water requirements.”
The recent growth in uranium activities in Namibia has increased water demand in the Erongo region and stretched the nation’s limited resources. Rainfall in the region doesn’t meet the daily freshwater requirement of 35,000 cubic meters, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Water to augment supplies in the region is being pumped from the Omdel aquifer, which the ministry says has reached its maxium sustainable yield. A study on future uranium mining in the Erongo region confirmed that there is not enough groundwater in the central Namib to supply uranium mines, so all these mines must in future use desalinated water for their operations.
The study, conducted by local and international experts under the guidance of the Geological Survey of Namibia and German’s Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) recommended that NamWater should enter into negotiations with AREVA to use their excess water from the desalination plant.
- Articles In This Category
- Strict rules for Botswana car imports (203 hits)HeadlinesThe Department of Customs and Excise in the Ministry of Finance has announced the enforcement of regulations concerning the importation and...Do you like my new ride? (421 hits)HeadlinesPaulus Nakawa, Head of Corporate Communications at Air Namibia (left); Namibian Ambassador to Germany, Neville Gertze; Xavier Masule, Air Namibia...Visas required for Canada (578 hits)HeadlinesAs from 11 September 2012 citizens of Namibia, Botswana, and Swaziland are required to apply for a visa to travel to Canada. The announcement was...Epangelo misses out on Otjikoto (1270 hits)HeadlinesDespite widespread panic in the mining industry following the establishment of state owned Epangelo mining company which was set to have a stake in...Mutual turns168 (92 hits)HeadlinesOn 17 May, Old Mutual celebrated its 168th birthday. Old Mutual Namibia marked this special day with a focus on the benefits of diversity in...Talent search on (171 hits)HeadlinesAuditions for Trustco’s Star Performer Talent Competition are well underway. This week the judges were in Windhoek and scores of hopeful...Intellects to train in tracer studies (151 hits)HeadlinesThe National Council for Higher Education in conjunction with higher education experts from Germany and Indonesia is organising a series of training...Analysts give thumbs up to NBL results (108 hits)HeadlinesLocal market analysts have lauded NSX listed Namibia Breweries Limited for posting solid interim results for the period ended 31 December 2012. NBL...Namib Mills downplays food price increases (1119 hits)HeadlinesNamib Mills says the recently announced food price increases will not have a major impact on the country’s annual inflation rate which has been on...Farmers’ cooperative raises the bar (1620 hits)HeadlinesThe Omkhaibasen Farmers Cooperative which serves the Spitzkoppe, Tubusis and ≠Goabeb areas near Usakos, held another successful information and...
- Related Articles
- Second desalination plant soon (1165 hits)HeadlinesConstruction of the country’s second desalination plant will start “soon” after the tender for the N$2 billion project closed at the end of...EnvironmentFour small-scale solar-driven desalination plants that have been implemented in the northern areas of the country, have yield positive results,...
- Latest Articles
- HeadlinesThe Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) last weekend celebrated its second birthday with a glamorous ball at Country Club...State of grazing critical (95 hits)HeadlinesA comprehensive inter-agency Emergency Food Security Assessment conducted throughout the country revealed that poor grazing conditions are...Power cuts coming (94 hits)HeadlinesPower utility, NamPower has warned of the possibility of load shedding this winter after main supplier, Eskom refused to give the country a guarantee...Editors DeskIt is somewhat baffling to find a foreign investor so eager to enter the local scene, it embarks on a social investment programme less than a month...WeatherWhat happened? The departure from one pattern to a more favourable one is now an established feature on our synoptic charts for both the surface and...