The managing director of Areva Namibia and its subsidiary companies, Hilifa Mbako, has been elected as chairperson of the Namibian Uranium Association (NUA) with effect from January 1, 2016. Mbako will serve in the position for the next two years after he takes over the position from Deon Garbers, senior executive vice president of Swakop Uranium, who has led the NUA over the past two years.
Mbako joined Areva Namibia as country manager in December 2009 and became chairman of AREVA Processing Namibia in November 2011. He was educated in England since 1983 where he studied Business, Finance, Politics, Philosophy, Economics and Journalism. He worked in the UK and Mexico for a year before returning to Namibia in 1989. He holds a BA Communications, Economics and Philosophy degree (Bradford University) and a National Diploma in Business and Finance (London College of Communication) and has more than 25 years’ top level experience in the financial services and mining industry.
The NUA is an independent association representing the interest of all the operating uranium mines, most of the uranium exploration companies and contractors associated with the industry. It is governed by a board of trustees. The purpose of the association is to promote the development of an efficient uranium industry committed to sustainable development and in compliance with Namibia’s laws and regulations.
The NUA also appointed Werner Ewald as the acting deputy chair. Ewald is the general manager of Bannerman Resources Namibia and holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, for which he received the Gold Medal Academic Award from Old Mutual. He started his engineering career in the Erongo Region shortly after Namibia’s Independence and joined Bannerman five years ago.
Ewald chairs the NUA Sustainable Development Committee that leads the development of the industry’s positions on key issues affecting the expansion of uranium exploration, mining and exports. His focus during the next two years will be on the importance of water and power supply in the Erongo Region.
Meanwhile, the association also announced the appointment of Dr Gabi Schneider as executive director of the Namibian Uranium Institute (NUI), with effect from February 01, 2016. Dr Schneider takes over from Dr Wotan Swiegers, who retires after leading the NUI since its inception in 2009. Schneider graduated in 1980 with a Master of Science in Economic Geology degree from the University of Frankfurt, where she also obtained her PhD in the Faculty of Earth Sciences in 1984.
After working for the Institute for Geochemistry and Metallgesellschaft, both in Frankfurt, she joined the Geological Survey of Namibia in 1985 as a senior geologist. She headed the laboratory, before she became deputy director in the Division of Applied Geology. She served as director of mines in 1995, and was appointed director of the Geological Survey of Namibia in 1996. Her professional experience covers economic and exploration geology, mineralogy and geochemistry, as well as management and administration.
Schneider also serves on numerous platforms, notably as the president of the Organisation of African Geological Surveys (2013-2016) and the vice chairperson of the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia. She is a director of the Minerals Development Fund of Namibia, the vice chairperson of the board of trustees of the Namibian Institute for Mining and Technology (NIMT), a member of the Sustainable Development Council of Namibia and a member of the Benguela Current Commission.
She served as a presidential appointee on the Council of the University of Namibia and its executive committee, and as a member of the National Heritage Council of Namibia, where she held the position of chairperson of the scientific committee. She is an honorary life member of the Geological Society of Namibia, an honorary fellow of the Geological Society of London, and is registered with the South Africa Council for Natural Scientists.
The NUI is the uranium industry’s leading point of contact for governments, the public, media and other interested parties. The NUI creates consultative communication platforms, sets standards and provides health, environmental and radiation safety training to the industry. It is closely linked to the Namibian University for Science and Technology (NUST).