Uranium in Namibia: Yellowcake Fever Note de l'Ifri, Novembre 2021
Mineral revenues are the driving force behind Namibia’s economic performance. Namibia is rich in mineral resources which include uranium, diamond, copper, gold, lead, lithium and zinc. However, these mineral riches are not always allocated and utilized in a transparent manner and seem to benefit disproportionately a small number of wealthy elites, many of them affiliated with the ruling party SWAPO.
After years of a global depressed uranium market, Namibia’s production of uranium has grown and it now ranks the fourth uranium producer in the world. The driver of this rise is China that needs to secure its uranium supply. Investments by Chinese companies now have majority ownership of the two most productive mines. Thus, the uranium production in Namibia is expanding and projected to expand in the coming years as the Husab mine ramps up to full capacity. While China’s state-owned companies dominate the operational mines, Australian companies lead the exploration projects.
However, the Namibian uranium mining sector is surrounded by problems concerning the distribution and transparency of the mining rent, health and safety, environmental impacts, labor disputes, legislative controls and non-proliferation issues.