Namibia: 170 kg of Natural Uranium Stolen from Rossing Mine


Two employees of the Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia stole 170 kg of natural uranium concentrate powder from the facility. On 4 September 2009, the two employees and their accomplice, a member of the Namibian Defense Forces, were arrested trying to sell the material to an undercover police agent. According to the Rossing Uranium Mining Director, Mike Leech, the incident presented the largest theft of uranium from Rossing for many years. Leech said that four more people may have been involved, including Rossing security guards.

The uranium was removed from the facility in a waste oil barrel. Removal from the facility is not rigorously monitored and controlled. Leech also claimed that a "black market" for uranium is emerging in South Africa, and that groups in South Africa try to obtain uranium from the region for shipment to third countries. He referred to a theft of a small quantity of yellow cake from the Langer Heinrich mine earlier in 2009 as possibly linked to the South African black market. Also, according to Leech, Namibian police believe that uranium smugglers seek to route Namibian uranium via Botswana to reach South Africa.

Abstract Number: 20110880
Headline: Namibia: 170 kg of Natural Uranium Stolen from Rossing Mine
Date: 4 September 2009
Bibliography: "Cable 09WINDHOEK348," WikiLeaks, 2011-08-30,
Material: Natural Uranium Ore Concentrate

April 26, 2012

This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2018.