Areva Plant to Supply Desalinated Water to Namibia Mines

Areva SA, the biggest producer of nuclear reactors, signed an agreement with Namibia Water Corp. for the utility to distribute water from the company’s desalination plant to mines in the central Erongo region.

The pact to supply 10 million cubic meters (2.6 billion gallons) of water a year was signed yesterday, Hilifa Mbako, managing director of Paris-based Areva’s Namibian unit, said by e-mail. The water will be distributed to Paladin Energy Ltd.’s Langer Heinrich uranium mine, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co.’s Husab uranium project and Rio Tinto Plc’s Rossing mine.

Erongo is in a semi-arid area that suffers from severe water shortages. The southwest African nation is enduring its worst drought in three decades with all 13 regions affected by water scarcity and a third of the people severely or moderately food insecure, the United Nations said Aug. 12 on its website. The government declared an emergency in May, it said.

The water from the Areva desalination plant has become available it’s linked with the Trekkopje uranium project, which Areva halted last year after prices of the nuclear fuel slumped. The company has spent $970 million on the mine and $250 million in investments are needed to complete the project.

The plant has a design capacity of 20 million cubic meters a year. The Erongo region’s annual demand is 13 million cubic meters of water.