Welcome to Rössing Uranium’s Report to stakeholders 2020. This report explains our mining operations and the approach we take in what we do. It also outlines how we performed in 2020 as measured against our key drivers.
The year 2020 will go down in history as an unforgettable and challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that impacted the whole world.
Rössing was not spared, as our mining operations slowed down between March and June as regulations to curtail the pandemic took effect. We fell short of achieving our production target, but could mitigate it by depleting run-of-mine stockpiles to meet tonnage requirements, even though it was at lower grades. As a result of using stockpiles, ore milled actually increased from 8.0 million the previous year to 8.7 million in 2020.
In total, we mined 19.4 million tonnes of rock (22.4 million tonnes in 2019) of which 9.2 million tonnes was economic uranium-bearing ore (8.6 million tonnes in 2019), and 10.2 million tonnes was waste (13.3 million tonnes in 2019); 0.2 million tonnes of waste was dumped in-pit.
Despite challenging circumstances, Rössing produced 2,489 metric tonnes of uranium oxide and had a turnover of N$4,421.1 million.
Confirming our commitment to working safely and achieving zero harm, we are proud of our safety performance in 2020, as we achieved an All-Injury Frequency Rate (AIFR) of 0.34 against a target of 0.61. This is our best performance the mine has recorded since commencing operations in 1976. We had six reportable injuries, four of them being lost time injuries. This is a commendable performance and a significant improvement in our drive towards zero harm.
Our Critical Risk Management (CRM) tool has successfully been embedded and has become part of our safety culture. CRM is a fatality prevention tool that ensures critical risks are identified and relevant controls are put in place before a task is carried out.
In recognition of our safety performance, we won the Chamber of Mines of Namibia’s best safety award in the operating mines category for the second consecutive year – a notable achievement.
We developed a COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan (ERP) that was resourced at Exco level who shared the vision and set the direction onsite. The ERP was periodically reviewed as the pandemic developed and new guidelines and regulations were issued during the year.
A multitude of COVID-19-related controls were put in place. All employees had to complete a screening questionnaire to limit people on site with symptoms or potential exposures. Disinfection of areas were done routinely, while transport controls were in line with directives received from Government.
The impact was that for mass transport access, four additional buses had to be obtained to ensure compliance with the required 50 per cent capacity. Essential stock such as hand sanitisers, disinfectant and face masks were sourced and levels maintained throughout.
As in the rest of the world, face-to-face interaction was limited and remote working has become the norm, especially for non-essential staff. Social distancing was strictly applied, and measures put in place to ensure adherence. Numerous communications ensured that employees and contractors were kept up to date with any new measures or procedures.
As at the end of December, 144 positive cases were recorded with 127 cases resolved and 17 active cases in the process of recovery.
We also supported the Namibian Government’s efforts to combat the effects of COVID-19. In addition to donating N$200,000 to the Ministry of Health and Social Services and protective gear to the Swakopmund state hospital, we procured and delivered an oxygen generating plant valued at close to N$3.8 million to the new COVID-19 isolation facility at Walvis Bay State Hospital.
We will continue to monitor and be vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.
2021 will be an exciting year. Capital investment made in 2020 will support us in running a safer and more efficient operation. We will continue with the business integration process with CNUC, rolling out the purpose statement and integrated values early in 2021.
A word of appreciation to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Tom Alweendo, for his support to the mining industry during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding on behalf of the Government of Namibia. I would also like to thank our employees for their hard work, positivity and resilience during the year.
Thank you to all our stakeholders for their interest in our business. Please feel free to contact us for any comments or inputs to improve our annual report to you.
Johan Coetzee, Managing Director
30 April 2021