China General Nuclear Power Holding Corp., the country’s biggest producer of nuclear energy, will start building a sulfuric-acid plant next month at its Husab uranium mine in Namibia.
The facility will have capacity to produce 1,500 metric tons of acid daily, or about 500,000 tons annually, Grant Marais, a spokesman for CGNP’s Namibian unit Swakop Uranium, said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions. Sulfuric acid is used to extract metal from ore. Uranium is a fuel for nuclear energy. Namibia is the largest uranium producer after Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.
“The plant will be ready to produce when the processing plant comes on stream end of 2015,” Marais said. The cost of the facility ‘is classified but falls well within the budgeted total project cost,’’ he said. Husab will use all the output from the planned plant and any additional needs “would be supplemented through imports,” he said.
The $2 billion Husab operation, which started in May, will have the potential to produce 15 million pounds of uranium and will eventually supply China only. Construction of a processing plant is going to plan and production will start at end of 2015. Husab will have the potential to produce 15 million pounds of uranium oxide when fully operational in 2017.
The mine is in the ‘process of very early discussions with potential off-takers targeting utilities which have a long-term strategic outlook on the uranium market’, Marais said.