Rössing Uranium in talks with Chinese over Husab
Rössing Uranium said this week that it is in talks with the new owners of the Husab project over plans to jointly develop one of the world’s biggest uranium deposits.
The move by Rössing Uranium comes after parent company, Rio Tinto agreed to sell its shareholding in Extract to Taurus Mineral, a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned Guandong Nuclear Corporation (CGNPC) after the latter launched an unconditional US$2.24 billion offer to Extract shareholders last month.
Jerome Mutumba, Rössing’s manager for external affairs said this week that discussions with the Chinese on a possible joint development are ongoing. He said: “It has always been Rössing’s intention to pursue joint development with the new owners of Husab which we believe will bring benefits to all stakeholders. Joint development of Husab is a logical and compelling way to develop a project that stands to generate substantial benefits for all stakeholders over and above two stand-alone operations.”
Husab, which is expected to become one of the world’s largest uranium mines when it begins operations, is located only a few kilometers from Rio’s Rössing.
Although Mutumba could not reveal how much stake Rössing was eying in Husab, he however said that a joint development will significantly improve the economics of the Husab project, as well as lower the unit costs of the Rössing operations.
“Regardless of who owns the Husab project, the benefits of joint development will apply… lower costs will result in an increased resource, longer minelife, and increased recovery of the total resource to the benefit of Namibia,” Mutumba said.
In a statement released earlier in the week, MD Chris Salisbury confirmed Rössing’s interest in Husab. He said: “ Rössing remains interested in pursuing a joint development with the new owners of Husab. We believe that a joint development of the Husab deposit…would bring benefits to the shareholders of both Rössing and Husab, the local community and Namibia.”
Rössing holds a 14.22% stake in Extract. The Extract board recently accepted the recommendation of the independent directors of the Extract board to accept the CGNPC offer which effectively put Husab in the hands of the Chinese.