Fire crews tested after mine blaze in Namibia
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Windhoek - A fire has broken out at the product recovery plant of the Rio Tinto-owned Rossing Uranium mine in Namibia, the company confirmed on Friday.
“The origin and cause of the fire and possible damage to equipment or the final product recovery (FPR) building is currently being assessed,” the mine said in a statement on its website, according to a Sapa correspondent.
The mine is situated in the central Namib Desert, 60km east of the coastal tourism town of Swakopmund.
The fire broke out around midday on Thursday in the FPR plant of the open pit mine, where drums are filled with processed uranium, also called “yellow cake”.
Emergency response teams brought the fire under control.
“Mining operations in areas not affected by the incident continued as normal and there were no injuries,” the mine said.
Meanwhile, a local daily reported on Friday that workers at the FPR building, and members of the Swakopmund fire brigade, were tested for possible radiation.
The company said: “Affected employees were evacuated and the fire was extinguished; as a precautionary measure, the fire brigades from the towns of Swakopmund and Arandis were alerted to render support if necessary.”
The origin and cause of the fire, and possible damage to equipment or the FPR building, was being assessed.
The German-language newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung reported that members of the fire brigade had to hand in their protective clothing to mining officials after the fire was extinguished and had to undergo urine tests.
“It (the fire) was incredibly hot, it was bad,” a member of the fire brigade was quoted as saying.