Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) is 75% owned by Paladin Energy Australia, with CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding Limited, a subsidiary of China Nuclear Corporation, holding the remaining 25%. LHU operates an open pit uranium mine located within the Namib Naukluft National Park, 90 km east of Walvis Bay in Namibia’s Erongo Region. The surficial, calcrete type deposit currently has a mineral resource of 149 million pounds containing 514 parts per million U3O8, and 5.2 million pounds are produced annually. The ore is treated with an alkaline leach and ion exchange process. Our mining license area is 40km2, of which less than 10% is currently utilised, making our overall operational footprint less than 4km2.
LHU is focused on Sustainable Development and we consider our business in relation to Namibian society and our impact on the environment a critical part of measuring overall performance and ability to operate effectively. Mining and mineral processing can play a central role in sustainable community development and we therefore endeavour to act as a catalyst for positive social and economic change.
Through Health, Safety, Environment and Community Relations Policies we affirm that our business creates shareholder value through working safely and with due regard to the welfare of our employees and the environment; respecting attitudes and expectations of host communities; acting with integrity, honesty and cultural sensitivity; and contributing to the growth and prosperity of Namibia through responsible community development.
We are committed to operate within the relevant national and international legal as well as voluntary requirements. Our occupational Health and Safety Management System is based on the NOSA CMB253N standard, our Environmental Management System is ISO-14001:2004 accredited; our Radiation Management System is implemented in accordance with the national Namibian legislation, the International Commission on Radiological Protection and the International Atomic Energy Agency standards; our Social Performance Management System is based on ISO-26000; and our Corporate Social Investments are aligned with national socio-economic development priorities.
As at the end of the 2016/17 financial year, a total of 674 direct employment opportunities were created (368 LHU and 306 contractor employees). Of the 368 LHU employees, 95% were Namibians and 18% were female. We remain committed to support the growth of the Namibian Nation through training and development. During the 2016/17 financial year, in excess of N$2.5 million was spent on training and skills development. Furthermore, 122 Namibians benefitted from our Apprenticeship and Job Attachment Programme, 41 from our Graduate Development Programme and 3 from our Bursary Programme during the same review period.
Placing LHU Mine on care and maintenance was a decision not taken lightly. The continued depreciation of the uranium spot price necessitated the Langer Heinrich Uranium (Pty) Ltd ('LHU') Board of Directors to resolve to temporarily cease Operations. LHU has through the past years implemented numerous cost saving and optimisation strategies, including the mining curtailment strategy implemented in November 2016. This implies the immediate commencement of placing Langer Heinrich Mine on "care and maintenance" and will remain so until such time that the uranium price may recover and it makes sense to recommence Operations.