Rössing wants own desalination plant
Rössing Uranium will construct its own desalination plant, to be located 6 kilometres north of Swakopmund at the existing Swakopmund Salt Works. SLR Environmental Consulting Namibia and Aurecon Namibia have jointly been appointed to oversee the environmental impact assessment process.
Contacted for comment, Rössing Uranium Advisor: Corporate Communications, Botha Ellis remained tight lipped about the project and informed the Economist that a media focus group is scheduled for 31 July 2014 at which point Rössing Uranium will be at liberty to unveil its plans for the planned desalination plant.
Currently, Rössing Uranium purchases desalinated water for its mining operations at a significant cost. As an interim measure, Rössing Uranium, along with other mines in the region, have been supplied with desalinated water from the Areva desalination plant near Wlotzkasbaken, since November 2013, SLR said in a statement.
NamWater has been pursuing the development of a new desalination plant at Mile 6 roughly 10km North of Swakopmund, but the outcome, timelines and commercial aspects to this project remains uncertain. An agreement to secure water on a long-term basis from Areva’s desalination plant at economically feasible terms could also not be reached, SLR said.
The desalination plant will include a seawater intake system and associated infrastructure. The water intake will be located in the vicinity of the existing Swakopmund Salt Works intake. Rössing is investigating two options with regards to infrastructure to transport water to the plant that include either a channel or a pipeline. A seawater receiving tank or one of [the] existing salt works ponds will serve as a pre-treatment plant that will remove sediments, solids and organic matter. This plant will most likely comprise a Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) system. The main desalination works will consist of a modular Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant with a capacity of approximately 3 million cubic metres per year equating to8,200 cubic metres per day. The main plant will be housed together with the post and pre-treatment infrastructure in a designated fenced-off area. Various discharge alternatives are being investigated, including ‘beach disposal’ and ‘sea disposal’ options, within the Mining Licence area of the Swakopmund Salt Works. A new 11 kilovolt power line of approximately 6 kilometres will need to be constructed, together with a new substation at the plant. A water supply line of roughly 850 metres will connect the plant to the existing NamWater pipeline, transporting desalinated water.
The environmental impact assessment process is anticipated to be completed by January 2015, when SLR will submit its final reports to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for probing. The construction of the proposed desalination plant will only commence upon the issuance of an Environmental Clearance Certificate. The construction phase will take approximately twelve to eighteen months to complete, SLR said.