Russians defend Stampriet uranium drilling

25 November 2021 | Business



Mining prospector Headspring Investments is adamant that its drilling work at the Stampriet Artesian Basin, in an effort to find uranium, is in compliance with Namibian laws.

This comes after the agriculture ministry recently cancelled two of its prospecting licences due to gross violations and non-compliance.

Nearby farmers and residents of towns in the Kalahari have expressed major concerns after establishing how Headspring would go about extracting uranium from ore deposits in the Stampriet Artesian Basin with its intertwined aquifer system. The drinking water source extends into Botswana and South Africa.

However, Andrey Shutov, president of Uranium One Group, which represents Headspring, has assured that all work at the site is being carried out in strict compliance with Namibian laws.

In a statement, he said Headspring has been conducting exploration work in Namibia since 2010 and has eight valid exclusive prospecting licences (EPLs).

“Current legislation in Namibia requires an environmental clearance certificate (ECC), required in addition to an exploration licence for any exploration activity. “Headspring Investments has eight approved and valid ECCs for drilling operations on the respective EPLs,” the statement read.

They say, we say

Shutov further said a separate permit is required from the agriculture ministry to carry out hydrogeological surveys in the Stampriet Artesian Basin near the village of Leonardville, which is a specially protected water area.

“Between 2019 and 2021, 78 hydrogeological wells have been permitted, of which 37 have been drilled in strict compliance with the permits issued for both drilling and grouting technology - these requirements are outlined in permits number 11439, 11561 and 11562, among others.”

In the statement, he said an on-site inspection was conducted in October by the agriculture ministry, who forbid the presence of Headspring employees during interviews with contractors and land owners.

“The results of the inspection were not provided. Upon receipt of the audit report, the company will prepare a formal response outlining its position.”

The ministry found that Headspring, which is a subsidiary of Russian nuclear power corporation Rosatom, does not meet the conditions under which permits 11561 and 11562 were issued.

The permits were issued on 30 March for uranium exploration and geohydrological purposes respectively.

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