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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: July 15th 2002


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:: Acid Plant Feasibility Study by Rossing

Namibia's Eossing uranium mine is to commission a detailed feasibility study of the construction of a sulphuric acid plant at Walvis Bay harbour, which as a by-product might also enable the generation of some 3.5 billion m3/y of desalinated seawater for consumption in the coastal area. The mine, located 65 km inland from Swakopmund, currently imports some 2, 000 t/y of acid for use in its solvent-extraction process. The study will be funded by European and other donors, and Rossing hopes to establish a co-ordinating body for the project involving key stakeholders in the water supply sector, including the parastatal Namibia Water.

Rossing produced its own acid until two years ago, but the plant at the mine site was mothballed in early 2000 and until recently the economics of obtaining feedstock for the plant have continued to be at a disadvantage to imported acid. However, the economic case for the local production of acid has been improved by two key factors: the sharp fall in the latter part of 2001 in the value of the South African rand, to which the Namibia dollar is linked at par, which has increased the cost of imports; and the renewed availability of pyrite concentrate from the Otjihase copper mine, where a refurbishment programme has been virtually completed.




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