Daily News  :: Southern Africa

Australian firm discovers "rich" uranium deposits in Namibia

Published: 12-JAN-07

WINDHOEK � Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)-quoted West Australian Metals (WME), the latest firm to join the rush for Namibia's uranium said Thursday it has discovered rich deposits of the highly-priced mineral at its Marenica Project in Namibia.

WME in a statement to the media said sampling has revealed widespread, near surface mineralisation and identified possible extensions outside the main prospected area.

Company officials said the Marenica uranium project has confirmed mineralisation in excess of 100 metres in width and grades up to 1.005 ppm (0.10 percent) uranium oxide within the trenches.

WME said it has pumped in $1.9mn into exploration. The firm did not indicate when it would move to commercially exploit the uranium deposits.

"The company is most encouraged by these latest results which follow the widespread areas of significant uranium mineralisation reported from phase one of our trench and pit geo-chemical sampling programme," said technical director, Leon Reisgys.

WME's positive findings also confirm Namibia as the Australian investors' new uranium frontier.

Australian firm, Paladin Resources commissioned its $92mn Langer Heinrich Uranium mines on 28 December 2006. Australia controls a quarter of world uranium production.

"In particular, the results now available confirm the finding that the highest uranium grades are in trenches located in most north-western and southern trenches indicating likely extensions, or presence of higher grade zones outside the sampled area," Reisgys said.

Uranium industry experts estimate global demand for the mineral to double in the next 25 year, fuelled by China's ambitious plan to increase nuclear energy capacity five-fold to 40 gigawatts by 2020, equalling Russia nuclear plans for 2030, and twice as large as India's ambitions.

Market watchers say that there are 28 nuclear reactors under construction globally whilst another 62 are being planned. Japan intends to add 11 more by 2010 and China 24 by 2020.

Analysts say that about 440 reactors in the world require more than 154 million pounds of uranium from mines and stockpiles per annum.

The demand has seen uranium prices doubling last year and are up six fold in the last five years at $72 per pound.- Panapress

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