Rössing Uranium faced a number of challenges head-on during the 2011 financial year and the company will continue to work through operational and production challenges to remain on its path to return to profitability by 2014. During a media event hosted on Friday, 15 June, Jerome Mutumba, Manager External Affairs informed the Namibian media fraternity of the company's performance.
"The year 2011 was a difficult one for Rössing, and the next few years will continue to be challenging," said Mutumba.
In the past two years, the company has recorded losses ascribed to a combination of lower prices, input prices increases, higher operating costs, adverse weather conditions and industrial action. In 2011, the mine suffered a financial loss of N$471 million.
"The mine did not make its 2011 production target; falling short by 31%. Exceptionally low-grades of ore meant that only 2,148 tonnes of uranium was produced," Mutumba noted.
Excessive rains at the begging of the year and industrial action in July and September 2011, also heavily impacted the mines financial performance. Global events, such as the 2011 tsunami in Japan and its impact on the Fukushima nuclear plant further negatively impacted the uranium industry. In the long-term, however, the mine remains optimistic about its long-term future.
"We remain focused on the possibilities to both expand our operations, and also to extend the mine life beyond 2023," Mutumba commented.
As the world's longest-running open-pit uranium mine, Rössing has the resources, infrastructure and know-how to actively pursue a number of growth options.
"We have concluded the fifth of our seven-year waste stripping programme, aimed at improving our production output by 2014. Once we have completed the removal of waste rock in our open pit, production of uranium will steadily improve, as higher-grade ore is accessed from the new mining area in the open pit. We also have great growth opportunities available in exploration and organic expansion options, as well as in the potential joint development of the neighbouring Husab project," added Mutumba.
Despite challenging times, Rössing continued to demonstrate its value to Namibia through contributions to the fiscal authorities. From a procurement perspective, Rössing spent N$2.6 billion in 2011, of which 63% was spent in Namibia.
Rössing remains committed to best practices in our health, safety and environmental performance, and will continue to work collaboratively with our communities to ensure socio-economic stability and to deliver sustainable longterm benefits for all.
Moving forward, Rössing will continue on its path to return to profitability as the mine steadily improves its production, once the pre-stripping programme concludes.
This, combined with the mines focus to improve on its operational efficiency in order to bring down units costs and improve profitability, will ensure that Rössing Uranium remains in an excellent position to grow for many years to come.
Manager: External Affairs