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New association for uranium industry only

Deon Garbers (left) and Hilifa Mbako respectively of Swakop Uranium and Areva, are the designated president and vice president of the soon to be launched Namibian Uranium Institute.

Deon Garbers (left) and Hilifa Mbako respectively of Swakop Uranium and Areva, are the designated president and vice president of the soon to be launched Namibian Uranium Institute.

Representatives of several mining houses involved in uranium mining announced this week the industry is in the process of establishing its own, dedicated body to address industry-specific issues.
“The uranium mining industry in Namibia has a brand new association which represents the industry exclusively and separately from the Namibian Chamber of Mines. With the continued growth in the Namibian uranium sector and some of its unique challenges and opportunities it has become evident that a sector specific body was required” said the newly-formed Namibian Uranium Association in its first public communique.
The Namibian Chamber of Mines will continue to represent the entire mining industry on matters of common interest as has always been the case.
The Namibian Uranium Association was formed on 16 September 2013 with the aim to enable senior executives in Namibia’s uranium industry to shape the context in which their industry operates. It argues for policy change that will let uranium compete on its merits as an energy source appropriate for the needs of the twenty first century through research, factual information and advocacy.
Deon Garbers, senior vice-president Operations of Swakop Uranium, was elected as the first chairman of the association, with Hilifa Mbako, Areva’s Managing Director in Namibia, as vice-president. Both are born and bred Namibian citizens. The association sponsors the Namibia Uranium Institute (NUI), which is responsible for the setting of standards, training and internal auditing. Dr Wotan Swiegers was appointed last year as the Executive Director of the Institute. According to Garbers, the Namibian Uranium Association’s membership includes all the Namibian uranium mining operations and most of Namibia’s leading exploration companies and associated contractors. “The association should be regarded as the leading point of contact in the industry for governments, media and others interested in the positions and policies of the Namibian uranium industry. We aim to promote the industry’s adherence to strong sustainable development performance, product stewardship and compliance with the Namibian legislative framework,” he explained. Garbers said there are a lot of misconceptions and negative perceptions about the uranium industry. “It is therefore incumbent upon us to balance our activities and the business and economic imperatives of the shareholders with the social and cultural needs of our employees and the communities where we operate. It is our endeavour to go about our activities in such a manner that history will one day tell that uranium exploration and mining were in the best interest of the people of Erongo and Namibia,” he said.
The new association will be launched formally in November.

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