Namibia plan ‘taken out of context’

[] — URANIUM explorer Extract Resources said it would seek clarity from the Namibia government on media reports it planned to assign almost all mining and exploration rights to a state-owned company.

In Namibia, a government official confirmed to Reuters that the minister of mines and energy, Isak Katali, would likely hold a news conference next week to clarify the matter.

In a statement on Friday issued regarding its March 29 cabinet meeting, the government of the resource-rich African nation said: “Cabinet endorsed that uranium, gold, copper, coal, diamonds and rare earth metals are declared strategic minerals.”

“Cabinet endorsed that the right to own licences for strategic minerals will only be issued to a state company. Cabinet also endorsed that after approval of the licence by the minister, the state company may enter into joint ventures with interested parties for exploration and development,” it said.

Australia-listed Extract said on Friday that earlier comments had been taken out of context and the Namibian government fully supported Extract and its Husab Uranium Project in the country.

Extract Resources was responding to a query about a slump in its share price on Thursday following the Namibia government’s proposal to give the state exclusive exploration and mining rights over uranium, copper, gold, zinc and coal.

“The company will seek clarity from the Government of Namibia in relation to these comments,” Extract said in a letter to the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday.

Extract is looking to develop the Husab uranium project in Namibia, just south of the Rossing mine run by Rio Tinto, which also owns 14% of Extract.

Extract shares fell 9.9% to A$7.57 on Thursday, valuing the group at A$1.9bn ($2.07bn).

Its top shareholder, Kalahari Minerals, is in talks with a unit of state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corp (CGNPC) on a $1.2bn takeover offer.