Rössing Uranium’s operations consist of two distinct activities: the first is mining uranium-bearing rock, and the second is processing this ore into uranium oxide for the world’s nuclear energy market, which fuels the generation of electricity.

The uranium located in our mining licence area is embedded in very hard and abrasive granitic rock, known as alaskite. To mine the necessary volume of ore and waste, the mine must conduct blasting operations regularly.

Electric and diesel-powered shovels load uranium-bearing rock onto haul trucks, which transport the ore to the primary crushers for the first stage in the crushing process. From there, the crushed ore is conveyed to the coarse ore stockpile, where it is reclaimed and put through additional crushing stages in the fine crushing plant before the processing stage of operations begins.

Mining operations

During 2023, we mined 16.7 million tonnes of material, which is 1 per cent higher than 2022. 9.8 million tonnes were ore (9 per cent higher than 2023), with waste and low-grade material being 6.8 million tonnes, equating to a strip ratio of 0.69. A further 0.1 million tonnes of waste were dumped in-pit. Optimistically, we anticipate the strip ratio to be below 1.0 going forward, as the pit gets deeper.

Crushed tonnes were 9.4 million tonnes (4 per cent higher than 2022) and 8 per cent improvement in plant feed grade.

53 Voluntary Separations were approved, and 34 operators and technical employees have been incorporated into other departments where their skills are needed due to change in mining operating model, which is transitioning from owner to contractor mining.

We had a few significant incidents (no injuries) that once again highlighted the need for our teams to always be vigilant and to escalate concerns in a timely manner.

Continuous training and control measures need to be frequently updated and explained for pit equipment to uphold the highest safety and integrity. The availability of the fatigue systems has improved drastically over the course of the year.

Haulroad 11 ramp was decommissioned to accommodate the catch fence installation preparatory work.

Three new Slope Stability Radars were commissioned. There was great success from our radar monitoring system with no major falls of ground reported, which shows improved mining practices and the effectiveness of this slope monitoring system.

Also notable was the full implementation of electronic blasting technology for pit-limit blasting. This change allows the mine to decrease the amount of energy going into the final pit walls, which helps maintain the long-term slope stability and achieve better fragmentation.

The pit dewatering programme was commissioned to pump out the water from the pit bottom sump. Studies are underway for the long-term pit dewatering programme.

The major change in mining is the transitioning of owner to contractor Mining. The Phase 4 expansion was approved, and the contract awarded to Beifang Mining Contractor. The mining contractor has fully mobilised and started Phase 4 mining operations earlier than envisaged.

Processing operations

The Processing Operations is responsible for safe and efficient processing of a blend of uranium ore through multi-unit operations and processes for optimum uranium liberation, dissolution, concentration, and purification to produce a quality calcined uranium oxide (U3O8) product. This product is securely packed and shipped to our customers for further conversion.

During 2023, we milled and crushed 9.3Mt (which is 4% above what we achieved in 2022), and produced 2,920t of uranium oxide which is also 10% above drummed tonnes achieved for 2022. CIX throughput also improved by 2% from 2022. The main challenges we experienced during 2023, were failures related to conveyor structures, pulleys, conveyor belts and instrumentation issues.

A key milestone for the LoME project implementation will be sufficient deposition space through the completion of the Z3 embankment construction at our tailing’s storage facility. Furthermore, key focus for 2024 is to execute scheduled approved LoME projects and focusing on technological advancement to further improve on efficiencies, costs, major consumable consumption rates, health, and safety.


During the year 2023, Rössing executed 50 engineering projects across the mine.

1. Drum filter replacement

Drum filters are used in the final product recovery section, in a two-stage filtration process, purposed to filter yellow cake from thickener underflow slurry into the roaster feed tank. Two drum type vacuum filters are used at Rössing, one of which was prioritised for replacement in 2023, due to operability and mechanical integrity challenges.

How the drum filter works:

A vacuum is applied at the back of the cloth on the drum to “draw” the solution from the slurry, leaving a “cake” on the cloth. Wash water is fed onto the yellow cake from a trough above the filter. This water is again drawn through the cake and filter cloth by the vacuum, thus washing the cake. The solution that is drawn off by the vacuum (the filtrate), is collected in filtrate receivers. This filtrate with high ammonium sulphate content is pumped from the filtrate receivers, back to the thickener for the second stage of washing, thus concluding the double filtration process.

The new drum filter was delivered in November 2023 and was successfully commissioned in December 2023. This installation presents the below key benefits for final product recovery operations:

  • • Sustained drum filter reliability
  • • Improved filtration rates

2. Sewer system reinstatement

Rössing has gone through significant infrastructure expansion since initiating commercial scale uranium production in 1976. Part of the operating sewer network was built as early as 1974 and aged materially by 2022. The sewer system consequently experienced functional challenges, such as blocked sewer pipelines and overflowing manholes. Reinstating the integrity of our sewerage network was prioritised as a fundamental sustainability investment.

An associated pipe integrity and manhole functionality survey was conducted, and nine problematic areas identified for restitution. The functionality and reliability of the sewerage system were restored, with the project successfully executed and commissioned in December 2023.

3. Perimeter fencing of RUL accessory works areas

Rössing operates under mining licence (ML28), including specified accessory works areas, valid until 2036. A project was initiated in 2022 to restrict undue access to these accessory works areas, with the installation of secured perimeter fencing. This valuable investment was commissioned in October 2023.

The perimeter access fence is 1.2m above ground and has the following key features


  • • 25m spacing by pole, 1 drop pole every 5m
    • Droppers in between, supported by horizontal wire fence strands
    • Wiring around corner poles with tensioners
    • 10 instruction signs

Creosote-treated gum poles:

  • • Diameter 120mm
    • Length 2m
    • Pole spacing 25m apart
    • Installed in 0.8m holes – secured with concrete

Creosote-treated gum troopers:

  • • Standard diameter
    • Length 1.0m

The fence is effectively equipped with openings for animal migration (springbok, ostrich, zebras, kudus, etc.), particularly in support of our ESG aspirations of effective environmental stewardship.

The following key benefits were unlocked with the execution of this project:

  • • Access restriction and protection of Rössing infrastructure
    • Rössing AWA’s visible boundary indication


Process safety management

Process safety management (“PSM”) is a systematic approach of controlling the unwanted release of hazardous substances, process solutions, or fires and explosions that have the potential to significantly impact the health and safety of employees, the environment, or the business.

The four process safety hazards managed at Rössing are:

  • • Anhydrous ammonia gas
    • Concentrated sulphuric acid
    • Fire in the solvent extraction and final product recovery plant
    • Engulfment due to large processing tank failures

In 2022, the Rössing-specific process safety code of practice was implemented. This code of practice was developed using the Centre for Chemical Process Safety risk-based process safety (“RBPS”) management approach. The RBPS management approach at Rössing includes four pillars and 12 elements.

The four pillars are:

  1. Commitment to process safety
  2. Understanding hazards and risks
  3. Systems to manage risk
  4. Learning from experience

A first- and third-party audit was conducted in 2022, with specific focus on all concentrated sulphuric acid reticulations at Rössing mine and Walvis Bay. It was identified that hazard and operability studies (“HAZOPs”) need to be completed on all sulphuric acid areas. HAZOPs were completed in 2023 and action plans developed that will be implemented in 2024.

In 2023, the first of the two roasters in the final product recovery plant was commissioned, in which process safety lead the commissioning and ensured that all maintenance tactics and safe work procedures were in place before the roaster was in full operation and handed over to processing operations. The control strategy for this roaster plant is actively managed by the process safety management system.

Information systems and technology

Technology trends supporting the 4th Industrial Revolution (“4IR”) continued to emerge during 2023 and influenced technology decisions and activities at Rӧssing.

Overall, system and network infrastructure availability during 2023 were above acceptable standards, with minimum disruptions. The introduction of a high-speed dedicated fibre line between the mine site and town office supported this stability and created new opportunities for disaster recovery preparation. Furthermore, the availability of the mine’s core enterprise resource planning application was well within availability targets, supporting the business operations effectively.

Information and cyber security importance and readiness is increasing worldwide to protect the digital assets of companies. Rӧssing cyber security strategy embraces the NIST Framework that covers the functions “Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover”. Continuous monitoring is done to actively monitor the Internet Protocol (“IP”) and Operational Technology (“OT”) areas of the mine.

A three-year information technology strategy that supports the business strategy of the mine was established during the first half of 2023 and cascaded to all departments. The pillars of the information technology strategy are data management, digital execution, information and cyber security, and effective connectivity. As part of the process, a full enterprise architecture view of all systems at the mine was established. This enterprise architecture view provides an opportunity to consolidate and optimise technology systems over the coming years to support the business operations at the mine.

Agreed projects were successfully executed and completed during 2023 to futureproof our environment. Regarding projects, the following is notable:

  • The SAP S4/Hana upgrade project was completed in March 2023 with no disruption to the operation.
  • Various technology supporting projects for the LoME programme were completed successfully. This includes extended fibre connectivity in the pit to support radio communication and close circuit television. This provides the backbone infrastructure to introduce further Internet of Things (“IOT”) devices to support a safe and effective mining operation.
  • CCTV project – The CCTV project was completed successfully and introduced effective surveillance and operation monitoring. The solution provides a single integrated observation and monitoring platform with advanced analytical capabilities to protect the assets of the mine.
  • As part of the newly established information technology strategy, the mine embarked on a journey to digitally transform paper-based processes. Agile Point was selected as a software partner for the solution, and more than 20 business processes were digitally transformed during 2023, with more that will follow in the years to come. This initiative will create a digital efficient operating mine site supported by data-driven management decisions.
  • An innovation and engineering technology team was established in the Information Systems and Technology (“IS&T”) department to support and enhance operations in this digital era.

Looking forward

The information technology strategy that was introduced and embedded in the business areas provides the foundation to establish digital efficiencies and support movement into the 4IR.

Good progress was made during 2023, with the introduction of digital workflow execution. This will continue to be enhanced further into the business in 2024. The further focus in 2024 will be to optimise the supporting data journey to establish a data-driven organisation.

The enterprise architecture assessment of all technology applications at the mine will continue to seek opportunities to consolidate and minimise the number of applications and related costs to support business efficiency.

Good progress was made during 2023 to establish the core pillars of a technology strategy that supports a connected available enterprise architecture for the mine. This constitutes the technology foundation for the LoME to support an efficient mining operation in future. In addition, the established closer collaboration between business and IS&T departments supports the digital transformation of the business and embracing 4IR topics.



The Rössing Uranium LoME from 2027 to 2036 was approved by the Rössing Board in February 2023. One month later, a 13-year contract was signed with Beifang Mining to commence with a full contract mining service from 2024 to 2036. By the end of 2023, Beifang had mobilised a new fleet of heavy mining equipment (“HME”) to site, together with an experienced workforce trained to operate this equipment. The first blast was taken in the new Phase 4 pushback, ahead of schedule, on 21 December 2023.

The upper benches of the Phase 4 pushback will be mined concurrently with the final benches of the Phase 2/3 pushback at the bottom of the pit. The latter will supply most of the ore until the end of 2026, while mining waste in Phase 4 to expose more ore from 2027 onwards. To enable this, funds were allocated for the execution of various infrastructure projects in the mining area. The largest of these is the construction of a high-energy rock-fall catch fence on Trolley 11 that will protect mining activities in the bottom of the pit from rockfalls arising from Phase 4 mining above. This project is still under construction and will be completed by mid-2024. Smaller infrastructure projects included the removal of power lines from the Phase 4 mining area, as well as the allocation of facilities to Beifang. While mining continues in both areas until the end of 2026, Rössing will continue to operate its remaining HME, after which Beifang will take over all mining from 2027 onwards.

Funds were also allocated for upgrades of the Rössing infrastructure and processing plant. These include construction of a 15MWe PV solar power plant, as well as expansion of the tailings storage facility (“TSF”) to accommodate ten years’ additional tailings from the processing of Phase 4 ore. Contracts were awarded for both projects by the end of 2023, with target completion by the end of 2024 and 2025 respectively. Funds were also allocated for completion of two feasibility studies, for dewatering of the tailings stream to a higher density (thickened) tailings and for onsite treatment of plant solutions to reduce freshwater consumption. Both studies involve the construction of pilot plants. Target completion of the studies is the end of 2024 to inform an investment decision for full-scale execution by the end of 2026.

Outsourcing of non-core activities in other parts of the business was also pursued as part of the revised workforce plan under LoME. This includes bus transport, for which a contract was awarded for a staged replacement of the ageing Rössing bus fleet from 2024 to 2026. A staged approach will also be followed for outsourcing of laboratory services, with the intention of tendering this in 2024.

Towards the end of 2023, it was decided to separate responsibility for the various LoME projects into execution and ongoing studies. Execution of those projects with approved funding has been allocated to the relevant line function, while a new “Business Development” department has been formed to focus on studies.



Following the approval of LoME and in the face of increasing U3O8 prices, Rössing’s long-term strategy is now focused on identifying an economic pathway for achieving higher production rates from new sources of ore, and extending the LoME beyond 2036. The potential for further expansion of the current SJ Pit is limited and the focus is therefore on development of a new open pit within the mining lease (“ML28”). The objective is to commence before 2030 and supplement feed from the SJ Pit to achieve higher production rates.

The most prospective part of ML28 for development of a new pit is south of the Khan River in the Z17-20 area as shown on below.

Exploration previously conducted on the Z20 deposit identified the economic potential for a pit that would extend across the lease boundary with Swakop Uranium (“ML171”) and join the Husab Zone 1 Pit. There is also potential for mining the Z17 deposit that extends across the lease boundary with Zhonghe (“ML177”).

The plan for 2024 is to commence with a two- to three-year exploration drilling programme in this area, while conducting studies to define the pathway for economic development. These studies will investigate the options for new surface infrastructure, to process the ore and dispose of the mineral waste, compared to transporting the ore for processing at the existing facilities.

The business development work will be carried out in collaboration with CNNC Group subsidiaries, notably the Geological Exploration Group (“GEG”) and the Beijing Research Institute of Chemical Engineering (“BRICEM”). BRICEM already have a team on site, working to reconstruct the heap leach demo plant that was last operational in 2010. Heap leaching is a lower cost method of extracting uranium from the ore and is one of the options being investigated to increase Rössing’s processing capacity. Other options include SAG milling and ore sorting, all of which have been investigated for Rössing previously, but may now make more sense under the current circumstances.