By Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – Rossing Uranium has quelled fears of radiation exposure after a fire broke out at one of its recovery plants last Thursday. Rossing Uranium Managing Director, Werner Duvenhage, said over the weekend that no uranium spill was detected during the fire.
Duvenhage said none of the final product that is already drummed and stored outside the facility was affected by the fire. The plant that caught fire is the Final Product Recovery (FPR) plant, which handles processed uranium for export.
“As part of standard safety procedures at the mine, teams entering the FPR plant are required to wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Rössing’s Occupational Medical Surveillance Programme also provides the mine with relevant information so that it can control and manage potential health risks,” Duvenhage said.
According to him, the initial assessments of the affected area at the FPR plant showed that the fire was confined to the roasters inside the facility.
“Most of the damage was contained here. The FPR plant is one component of the mine’s processing plant. The roasters are used to burn off excess moisture in the final product, before drumming takes place,” he said.
He added that the exact cause of the fire remains unknown at this stage, however, as part of the business recovery and response plan, further assessments and a thorough investigation, involving the relevant experts, is currently underway.
“Work in unaffected parts of the mine continues as normal and all relevant authorities were informed about the incident. No employees were injured during the fire. There was also no uranium spill. None of the final product already drummed and stored outside the FPR facility was affected. The FPR plant is a restricted access facility. All employees and contractors undergo pre-employment medical examinations to ensure they are fit to work. These are followed-up by regular risk-based medical examinations. The safety of Rössing employees and our neighbouring communities remains, as always, our first priority,” Duvenhage said.