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Namibian Uranium Output Rose on China, India Demand

Namibian uranium concentrate production jumped in the second quarter on higher demand from China and India, the southern African country’s central bank said.

Namibia, Africa’s second biggest producer of uranium, mined 18 percent more of the nuclear fuel in the three months through June compared with a year earlier, the Windhoek-based Bank of Namibia said in a quarterly report published on its website today. Production increased by 9.9 percent from the first quarter, it said, without giving figures.

“The demand for uranium continued to be high, emanated mostly from China, India and South Korea, coupled with planned nuclear plant programs across the globe due to increased demand for clean energy,” the central bank said.

Namibian uranium output may quadruple by 2015 as new mines are opened by companies including Extract Resources Ltd., more than doubling the metal’s contribution to the economy, Investment House Namibia, a Windhoek-based brokerage, said on May 18. The industry accounted for 5.6 percent of Namibia’s gross domestic product in 2009.

A recovery in mining is expected to help Namibia’s economy rebound from last year’s contraction, to grow an estimated 4.2 percent in 2010, the central bank said. Paladin Energy Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group operate uranium mines in the country.

Zinc concentrate production rose by 9.1 percent in the second quarter compared with a year earlier and by 6.5 percent from the first three months of this year, the central bank said. Refined zinc production increased 1.7 percent to 38,159 metric tons.

“The rise in zinc production was due to the continued favorable international price of zinc, coupled with continued demand of base metals especially by China and India,” it said.

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