Namibia’s Roessing uranium mine to slash jobs Global Post, 1 Mar 13, The Roessing uranium mine in Namibia, a unit of British mining giant Rio Tinto, said Friday it plans to cut 17 percent of its workforce due to slowing demand for nuclear fuel…. As with many other uranium producers, Roessing is buckling under low metal prices and reduced demand, the company’s managing director Chris Salisbury told reporters.
“Since the Japanese tsunami in 2011, uranium demand has remained depressed and the uranium price has fallen by more than 36 percent,” he said.
Japan shut down its nuclear power plants after the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, and a number of other countries including Germany have also signalled they plan to reduce or phase out their facilities.
“With the utility sector in Japan essentially shutdown, there is little prospect of a turnaround in the near term,” he added.
At the same time electricity and water costs have gone up…. Roessing Uranium Limited is owned 68.6 percent by British mining giant Rio Tinto and is one of two operating uranium mines in Namibia. .http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130301/namibia-s-roessing-uranium-mine-slash-jobs
Paladin, which has been the subject of some controversy in Malawi over job cuts, was last year linked to a funding application through its employees’ charity – Friends and Employees of Paladin for African Children.
Paladin’s (African) Ltd general manager, international affairs, Greg Walker, who was invited late last year to be Australia’s honorary consul to Malawi, was involved in the process, according to 2012 correspondence from Australia’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Matthew Neuhaus, to Mr Walker. The letter obtained under freedom of information confirmed Mr Walker’s successful application for the employees’ charity funding proposal.
Firms use tax money for aid projects : http://www.smh.com.au/money/tax/firms-use-tax-money-for-aid-projects-20130129-2ditd.html#ixzz2Jbp0RzOT January 30, 2013 Rory Callinan
WEALTHY resource companies operating overseas are tapping into Australian taxpayer funds to set up aid projects potentially benefiting their corporate social responsibility credentials.
Aid and mining watchdogs have expressed concerns about the practice, arguing the corporations are wealthy enough to bankroll their own aid and that linking donations to controversial mine operations is a conflict of interest.
Nine mining companies all operating in Africa have been linked to the successful applications via the Foreign Affairs Department’s Direct Aid Program – a scheme that allows heads of missions to give up to $30,000 to local causes.
About $215,000 of taxpayers’ money went to the mining company-conceived projects last financial year, including a school for the deaf, providing trade skill training to local workers, establishing women’s groups and digging wells. Two applications involved uranium mining companies, Paladin Energy in Malawi and Bannerman Resources in Namibia. Read more »
End of last month, the price had fallen to US$49.25 and for most of September, it hovered at the US$48 mark. This is almost 60% below the entry level target as calculated by Bannerman. The impact on the development of new mines, is obvious.
I believe the commodities boom is over, or at least on hold for another five years. In the meantime, no new mines.
Our Anticipated Uranium Projects Will Not Go Ahead, Except One [analysis] Equities.com Daniel Steinmann All Africa Global Media 22 Sept12, Bannerman Resources, the Australian company driving one of four new uranium projects in Namibia, recently said at a mining conference, the price for uranium U308 needs to be between US$75 and US$90 per pound (0.454kg) to drive any new investment in greenfields uranium mines.
Hidden in this seemingly neutral observation and analysis, are many serious consequences for the further development of the uranium sector Read more »
Conflicts with unions and management may have even larger impacts in the future,
Uranium Miners in Africa Facing Labor Disputes, Business Insider, Resource Investing News | May 16, 2012, Uranium mining companies are operating in difficult environments in many jurisdictions, facing challenges ranging from regulatory compliance,
environmental delays, rising costs, and labor relations. Over the last year, the labor challenges seem to have become more accentuated for African uranium mining companies, with several companies having reporting strikes. Read more »
Uranium, even when purified, Chareyron said is radioactive and miners cannot really be protected from it.
Concerns over uranium mining New Era, 12 Apr 2012 – by Irene Hoaës WINDHOEK – Renewed concern has been expressed regarding uranium mining activities along the coastal areas and its impact on the environment following tests undertaken by the Commission for Independent Research and Information about Radiation (CRIIRAD) and EARTHLIFE Namibia.
These mining activities have a direct bearing on people’s health as they reportedly cause cancer, especially to people that get exposed to them.
According to CRIIRAD, people that spend 30 minutes to 35 hours at a distance below 25 meters from the waste rock dump, would receive an external radiation dose above the trivial dose of 10 microsieverts per year.
One of the main concerns is uranium concentrates found in underground water sources and on sediments in areas where Rössing and the Langer Heinrich mines are found, especially along the Khan and Gawib rivers.
According to Bruno Chareyron, a Nuclear Physics Engineer and Director of the CRIIRAD Laboratory, the radioactive tailings (waste) of the mines are not covered and dust particles from the tailings are accumulating on bushes and slopes.
“When it rains, this dust is even washed off the waste rock dumps that are situated next to the river banks and therefore deposited into the river system,” the nuclear engineer said. Read more »
“The most difficult part for the victims of uranium exposure is to prove that their symptoms are directly related to the work they were doing in those mines,” Hecht said. Due to this difficulty, workers do not receive any compensation.
Lecture tackles global uranium trade, The Brown Daily Herald. Alissa Haddaji, February 17, 2012 To understand the consequences of global uranium trade in Africa, the intricate interaction between political lobbying, government and human interests must be explored, said Gabrielle Hecht, professor of history at the University of Michigan, in a lecture hosted by the science and technology studies program Thursday.
The presentation — held in Smith-Buonanno 106 — was part of the program’s lecture series “Nothing Can Go Wrong: Rethinking Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century” and introduced themes from Hecht’s forthcoming book, “Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium
Trade.” …. Read more »
situation isn’t all rosy for the multinational, which has long faced allegations of widespread environmental destruction and labor and human rights abuses in Africa, Asia and even the U.S.
Foreign control of metals and other natural resources in African and other developing countries is increasingly seen as a new form of colonialism, wherein locals work for relatively low wages and often in grueling, repressive conditions for companies that take most of the profit from the resources and labor out of the country.
Namibian Uranium Miners vs. Rio Tinto, IN THESE TIMES, BY KARI LYDERSEN, OCT 3, 2011 Namibian union uranium miners on strike against international mining giant Rio Tinto alleged in late September that a week into the strike, the company was violating mutually agreed upon conditions of the strike by hiring nonunion workers at its Rossing uranium mine.
Rio Tinto says it is not hiring nonunion workers and is demanding written proof from the Namibian Miners Union.
Miners have demanded payments of $2,557 (USD) each to end the strike over union allegations of unfair bonus payments and other grievances. Rio Tinto has asked the country’s labor court to rule that the union’s complaints are not grounds for a strike. Read more »
Strike at Rio Tinto’s Rossing mine, IOL, September 23 2011 Workers at Rio Tinto’s Rossing mine in Namibia on Friday started an indefinite strike at the uranium mine after rejecting management’s latest offer that was meant to settle a dispute over production incentives, a union official said.
“Workers have shot down the management offer. The strike has started as planned at 0800 (10:00 SA time) this morning,” Mineworkers Union of Namibia Rossing branch representative Ismael Kasuto told Reuters. - http://www.iol.co.za/business/international/strike-at-rio-tinto-s-rossing-mine-1.1143719
Namibia mine union readies for strike at Rossing Reuters 21 Sept 11, - Namibia’s Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) on Wednesday served Rio Tinto’s Rossing uranium mine with a strike notice after failing to reach a deal in talks over output incentives, with a stoppage expected to start on Friday. Read more »
There are a number of reasons why the latest incident is of great concern:
• it puts into question the level of security at Namibian uranium mining operations, with the worry being that radioactive uranium oxide could get into the “wrong hands”….
Drums of radioactive uranium found on beach, Care 2 by Andreas S., August 30, Last week, Namibian authorities discovered four unguarded barrels of radioactive uranium oxide on a beach near the coastal town of Swakopmund.
Namibia Q2 uranium production down | Industrial Fuels and Power August 30th, 2011 NewsroomUranium production in Namibia decreased from 2.35mlb to 2.09mlb in the second quarter of 2011 when compared with the previous quarter.“This was largely due to adverse weather conditions, with some of the mines becoming flooded with the abnormally heavy rains seen this year,” financial group Capricorn Investment Holdings said.Namibia’s uranium is produced by Rio Tinto and Australia’s Paladin Energy.
Namibia Q2 uranium production down | Industrial Fuels and Power
Namibia arrests four in suspected nuclear theft, Aug 29, 2011 11. WINDHOEK (Reuters) – Namibian authorities have arrested four people they suspect of stealing drums of radioactive material from a mine in the country that is a major exporter of uranium, officials said on Monday.
The four were arrested on Friday in the coastal town of Swakopmund, the drums have been recovered and the material is thought to have come from Areva’s Trekkopje mine, they said.Axel Tibinyane, regulator of the Atomic Energy Board of Namibia, said the contents of the drums are radioactive….
Areva’s Trekkopje is one of the few mines in Namibia that has processing facilities for yellow cake — a form of uranium ore that can be enriched for nuclear fuel or, if enriched to a much higher level, for use in weapons.The four suspects were expected to appear in court later on Monday.http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE77S0F520110829?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews
“It is the second largest employer after Namdeb. Rössing already made a loss last year, so this is big stuff.”
Rössing workers defy court order, Namibian 15 July 11, By: DENVER KISTING, YESTERDAY afternoon, Rössing Uranium employees ignored an order by Judge President Petrus Damaseb, who had ruled that their three-day strike was illegal and they must return to work immediately.
This means that by this morning, the accumulated loss for the uranium giant as a result of the strike amounted to approximately N$22,5 million. In court papers filed at the High Court in Windhoek yesterday, the company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mpho Mothoa, said Rössing has lost approximately N$2,5 million per shift. It has three shifts per day. Read more »
issue is the question of who has the legal standing to go to court to ask for protection for the environment, which is unable to speak for itself…plan to extract large quantities of water from an underground water source in such a dry, environmentally sensitive and hitherto unspoilt area.
Uranium company loses desert water plan appeal, the Namibian, 20 May 11, By: WERNER MENGES A LEGAL challenge to a Canadian-owned mining company’s plan to use underground water to set up a uranium mine in the Namib Desert south-west of Usakos is heading back to the High Court after an appeal judgement that was given in the Supreme Court yesterday.
An issue that has never before had to be decided by a Namibian court is expected to be at the core Read more »
“A lot of mining companies are at it to exploit people together with the minerals. They either employ people on fixed term contracts or outsource certain functions of their business simply to reduce labour costs,” he said.
“This practice results in poverty jobs where employees of these contractors sometimes earn as little as 20% of the basic salary offered by the Eastern Platinum (EPL) holder for the same job.
|Second mining expo to be held amid fears of ‘nationalisation’|
|Namibia Economist, by Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa|
|13 MAY 2011|
|The 2011 Mining Expo which kicks off next week in the capital is being held at a time when the mining sector faces uncertainty after government recently declared uranium, copper, coal, diamonds and rare earth metals as strategic minerals.
Last month, government through cabinet endorsed a decision that the right to own licenses for strategic minerals will only be issued to a state company.
The dramatic shift in policy has caught many investors and would-be investors unaware …..“….the mining sector’s contribution to government revenue is not commensurate with its share to the gross domestic product. Such contribution is mainly through royalties levied on the market value of the minerals. This means that Namibia benefits from its natural endowment mainly through rent-seeking. This situation is untenable” the minister said……http://www.economist.com.na/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23739:second-mining-expo-to-be-held-amid-fears-of-nationalisation&catid=588:special-focus&Itemid=70
President of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN), John Ndeutepo, says that in order to create a conducive labour environment for workers in the mining sector, there is a need for a paradigm shift…. companies try by all means to prevent its employees from being organised. Some even deny them their rights to freedom of association. It is a proven fact that one cannot make people work any longer; you will need to motivate workers in order for them to perform,” Ndeutepo added.
He said that the mining labour sector is faced with great challenges that calls for urgent change. One such challenge is the ability of unions to address labour issues involving contract and agency labour cases.
Some multi national companies do not even bother to monitor adherence especially when it comes to contractors and they even end up corrupting compliance officials,” he said.
Ndeutepo also called for the recognition of unions in the sector. He said that a lot of companies cannot yet get any returns from this relationship as they view the union as an enemy.–http://www.economist.com.na/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23738%3Aunion-calls-for-a-paradigm-shift-within-the-mining-industry&catid=588%3Aspecial-focus&Itemid=70
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