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Uranium Stewardship


Stewardship is an ethic that represents the careful and responsible management of things entrusted into one’s care, and in the case of a mineral resource it means the responsible planning, and sustainable development and utilization of resources, while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders. NUA members accept the responsibilities of uranium stewardship by building partnerships throughout the life cycle of the product to ensure that production, use and disposal are consistent with the global sustainable development goals. Uranium exploration and mining projects in Namibia take place in a cluster, and there are therefore cumulative impacts rather than individual impacts of isolated operations. The area is characterized by aridity, vast desert landscapes, scenic beauty, extraordinary biodiversity and endemism, and heritage resources. Many activities occur in two National Parks, and an integrated approach is required to ensure co-existence of industrial activities and conservation, as well as tourism, hence exploration for and mining of uranium needs to be balanced with environmental protection values. In practice, accepting uranium stewardship therefore includes

  • the cooperation of all exploration and mining companies in Namibia, as their cumulative impacts cannot be addressed in isolation

  • the avoidance of unsustainable practices by individual companies, which could have a negative impact on the entire industry

  • the development and implementation of best practice guidelines for health, the environment, radiation, safety and security, and community issues

  • ensuring the sustainability of production, use, and disposal as a social licence to operate

  • ensuring that projects are technically appropriate, environmentally sound, and socially responsible

  • the integration of environmental, economic and social aspects from exploration through construction, operation to mine closure, and

  • the commitment to the responsible management of chemicals, ores, ore concentrates, and final product.

As part of its stewardship mission, NUA has established the Namibian Uranium Institute (NUI). NUI is guided by respected independent scientists who serve on NUA’s Scientific Committee. The main purpose of the NUI is to provide a platform for NUA members to work together to improve safety and health performance through the identification of world-class leading best practices and their implementation; to act as a communication hub for the uranium industry in Namibia; and to promote knowledge and capacity building in specialised skills in the fields of environmental management, radiation safety and health. NUI is therefore working closely with the Namibian government and its agencies, and also has close ties with the Namibian University of Science and Technology.

From the start, exploration and mining companies involved in the Namibian uranium sector have fully recognized that managing environmental issues, radiation, health and safety, and waste is of paramount importance in order to protect staff, the general public and the receiving environment. Responsible management of uranium mining and processing applies at all stages from planning, exploration, development and construction to operations, sale, transport and finally decommissioning. This can best be achieved in a coordinated way with interaction of all players involved, and NUA is the vehicle of choice to accomplish this.