Engen Petroleum is going all out to ensure full operational efficiency for the Husab Uranium Project in Namibia during March 2016.
China General Nuclear Power Holding Corp (CGNPC), China’s biggest producer of nuclear energy, has started mining at Husab and once in full production, Husab will be one of the largest uranium mines in the world.
In 2014, CGNPC’s Namibian unit, Swakop Uranium, invited the Africa’s major players to tender for the supply of essential goods and services to its Husab project. Following a considered evaluation process, the contract for the provision of facilities, fuel, lubricants and services was awarded to Engen.
General manager of Engen’s International Business Division, Drikus Kotze, says the company is proud to have been appointed the fuel and lubricant service provider on a project of this magnitude and importance to Namibia.
“Engen has been involved in the design, procurement and construction of the fuel storage and dispensing facility and will assume full responsibility for the day-to-day management and reporting,” says Kotze.
He adds that Husab is also an important HSEQ project for Engen as it is both a flagship operation – with strict criteria on Health, Safety, Environment and Quality – and an opportunity for Engen to benchmark its capabilities and offerings to the mining sector as a whole.
Namibia is currently the world’s fifth-largest producer of uranium and will overtake Niger and Australia because of Husab’s production.
To establish an operational fuel facility for a mine the size of the Husab, which is located approximately 60km from Swakopmund, is no easy task.
“We are currently operational from a temporary facility with the permanent facility nearing completion,” explains Kotze. “Construction of the permanent facility commenced in May 2015 and should be completed and commissioned in late March 2016.”
Engen’s Commercial Services Manager, Paindane Henrique, says the contingent requirements upon each tendering supplier were typically complex. “The mine will move 150 million tonnes of rock and 15 million tonnes of processed ore per year and consume 80 million litres of diesel in doing so.”
Beyond the heavy-duty mining equipment, there were many obstacles Engen needed to overcome.
“For example, a broad range of heavy vehicles each carried stringent specifications based on the original engine manufacturer’s 50ppm diesel and lubricants requirements. These included low sulphur fuels with low water content and superior cleanliness to ensure operations and fuel system longevity. Engen products fitted this perfectly,” says Henrique.
“Supplying these fuels requires optimum supply chain quality and monitoring at various stages in the supply process together with the necessary best available technology and operating practices.”
With an expanding Namibian footprint built upon their Walvis Bay Terminal and several depots, Engen continues to leverage its infrastructure, experience and growing reputation in the mining sector to expand its operations and impact in the region.