Chamber of Mines: Selling Rössing the right choice
A state-owned Chinese SOE recently officially took over Rössing Uranium, a transaction mired in controversy. Here is the Chinese news agency Xinhua’s take on the event.
31 July 2019 | Business
We needed a choice and we wanted to see operations at the mine continue and not shut down. – Veston Malango, CEO: Chamber of Mines
The chief executive officer of the chamber, Veston Malango told Xinhua: "We needed a choice and we wanted to see operations at the mine continue and not shut down. Following the official conclusion of the transaction, I can say a right choice was made.”
If the mine had not got investors, what was the country going to do with 2 000 unemployed people, Malango asked, highlighting the fact that the country currently is plagued by unemployment issues.
"The new Chinese investors are breathing a new future and we should all embrace and welcome their presence and work together," he said.
The chairperson of Rössing board of directors, Foibe Namene, said "the grand old lady of the uranium sector has once again defied the odds".
"Over the years and many times we wondered, is this finally the end? Is it time to say goodbye? But instead of saying our farewells, we now stand before what is possibly the biggest and most exciting transformation of the long and illustrious life of this world-class operation in the nuclear power industry," she added.
Namene said she believes that CNNC will bring with them best scientific and technological practices as leaders in the nuclear power industry.
Representing the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN), Johannes Hamutenya, said the transaction is a historic event, not only for Rössing, but for the surrounding communities and the uranium sector.
"The departure of Rio Tinto is bittersweet as it had been operating in the country before independence. But as our mandate states, we will continue to play a pivotal role in maintaining job security," he added.
Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, Zhang Yiming, said the new partnership signifies another important achievement of China-Namibia cooperation in the mining industry.
"It is a vivid manifestation of the flourishing development of mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation between Namibia and China," he added.
He Zixing, the vice president of CNNC, said: “This cooperation will keep continuous tax contributions from Rössing to the nation and provide employment security, will provide more stable employment security for about 1 000 employees and 1 000 contractors of Rössing, will support the Rössing Foundation to continue to fulfil its social responsibilities, will provide the predictable business opportunities for local suppliers and will also promote in-depth cooperation between Namibia and China in trade, investment and industrial development."
In an emotional address to the Rössing workers and delegates, Bold Baatar, the CEO of the former majority shareholder Rio Tinto Energy and Minerals, said during their time they had an opportunity to create a world class business that contributed to the growth and development of Namibia and its people.
"While this was not an easy choice to make to sell, it was one that ensured a strong future for the business," he added.
According to him, with the new partners CNNC, Rössing will chart a new pathway, sustaining the business for years to come.
Baatar said even as the Rio Tinto flag comes down over Rössing, the company will very much remain committed to Namibia.
Speaking on the same occasion, Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua welcomed the new investment and stated that the region will now focus on building a new chapter in the history of Rössing Uranium.
"We know that this new chapter would allow the businesses to prosper to the benefit of not only our stakeholders, but also the economy at large," he added.
The deputy minister of mines and energy, Kornelia Shilunga, said that the event signalled the dawn of a new future for all.
"With the necessary cooperation with government and stakeholders, a lot can be done for future generations," she added. – Nampa/Xinhua