Namibia: development of new deep-water port

Article by Engineering

A new deep-water port is being proposed for development some 25 km north of Swakopmund, in Namibia, with the primary focus on the import and export of bulk materials.

Project developer Gecko Namibia MD Phillip Ellis said a dedicated bulk handling facility was fast becoming essential for the country. The Port of Walvis Bay focused on containers and was developing that line of imports and exports, with a tender recently awarded for a new container terminal.

Further, the Port of Walvis Bay is surrounded by residential areas and cannot be easily extended.

“The surface area for bulk commodity exports and imports is simply not available [at the Port of Walvis Bay] and Namibia needs a facility that can handle the current and future bulk requirements of the region. It is expected that the region will require capacity of around six-million tons a year in the next decade,” said Ellis.

The port would form part of Vision Industrial Park, a 700 ha development. Its construction was expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2016.

It would be constructed in four phases, with the first phase consisting of a 2.5-km-long breakwater and a specialised fuel and gas terminal with a draft of 16 m. The final phase will increase the draft to 23 m.

Vision Industrial Park itself would be constructed in two phases, with the first phase to be completed by December 2015. Central here is a sulphuric acid plant to meet the requirements of the uranium industry. This plant would be energy positive and a desalination and power plant would also be constructed.

The high-pressure steam generated by the manufacture of sulphuric acid would be used to generate power, while the low-pressure steam would provide the energy for a thermal vapour compression desalination plant. The plant would produce around 1 500 t/d of acid.

The second phase of the park would consist of a phosphoric acid and granular fertiliser plant.

Gecko Namibia had finalised the terms of reference for the scoping study and would soon move to a full environmental-impact study for the first phase of Vision Industrial Park.

The land had been secured and permission granted by the Namibian Cabinet for the project, which would go a long way towards enhancing bulk commodity trading and ease the flow of Namibia’s bulk mining products to international markets.