Namibia 4th Biggest Uranium Producer

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"Namibia has overtaken Russia as the fourth biggest uranium supplier in the world. . ."

Namibia has overtaken Russia as the fourth biggest uranium supplier in the world, on track to meet its target of becoming the world's third largest supplier by 2015.

According to a report by Cameco, the world's top uranium producer, Namibia accounted for 10% of global uranium supply last year. Russia supplied 8%, while Kazakhstan and Australia each supplied 19%. The biggest supplier in the world was Canada, with 21%.

"Given the addition of new mines that are expected to come on board in the next couple of years, the Namibian uranium industry has considerable potential to perform much better," Luise Nakatana, market analyst at Investment House Namibia (IHN), says in a new report on the sector.

Uranium means huge sums of money for investments.

Trying to ease fears of a prolonged economic meltdown, Old Mutual Namibia Group Economist Robin Sherbourne recently highlighted multibillion-dollar projects that are expected to drive Namibia's growth over the next five years. Of these, some N$17.2 billion stem directly from the uranium industry.

Mega-investments in uranium projects also mean lots of job opportunities. According to IHN's estimates, the uranium sector should employ nearly 4 310 workers within the next five years.

Uranium exports in 2007 totaled more than N$4.1 billion, 168% up from the previous year, representing 16.5% of Namibia's overall exports for the year. Growth continued last year, with the export value of uranium increasing by 31.4% to N$5.2 billion.

According to the Annual Report of the Bank of Namibia (BoN), the global economic meltdown has not hurt the uranium sector as the world still demands clean and cheap energy, and also because a number of nuclear power stations are already under construction around the world.

The competitiveness of uranium as an alternative energy source has convinced many countries to revisit their energy programs in favor of the commodity, the BoN observes in their latest Quarterly Bulletin.

"These factors have enticed the (local) industry to improve production efficiency that has lead to record high volumes produced during the fourth quarter of 2008," the BoN reports.

These positive developments are despite the fact that the uranium spot price dropped by 65% during 2008.

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