Zimbabwe to process newly found uranium deposits

President Robert Mugabe has said Zimbabwe will process recently discovered uranium deposits in order to resolve its chronic electrical power shortage, state radio said on Sunday.

Mugabe, who has close ties with two countries with controversial nuclear programmes, Iran and North Korea, made the announcement on Saturday, the radio station reported.

It was not clear how Mugabe intended to use any uranium deposits since the country does not have a nuclear power plant.

The president announced plans in the 1990s to acquire a reactor from Argentina, but nothing else was ever heard about the proposal.

“Zimbabwe will develop power by processing uranium, which has recently been found in the country,” the radio quoted Mugabe as saying.

“The discovery of uranium will go a long way in further enhancing the government rural electrification programme,” he was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe was not previously known to have any workable deposits of uranium.

South Africa has the region’s only nuclear power station at Koeberg.

Zimbabwe has been plagued by a chronic shortage of foreign exchange since Mugabe’s seizure of 5 000 white owned farms and the collapse of an export-oriented agricultural industry. It currently has a daily 400 to 450 megawatt generation shortfall on requirements of 2 100 megawatts.

Zimbabwe has had great difficulty meeting bills from Mozambique, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo for imports from the regional electric power grid. - Sapa-AP

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