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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
SA farmer's joy at uranium find
A poor South African farmer has spoken of his delight after uranium was found on his family's land, turning them into instant millionaires.

"We were overwhelmed. It is going to change our lives," Solomon Ngondo, 67, told the BBC.

A few months ago, Mr Ngondo was tending his sheep and goats in the stony semi-desert of the Western Cape.

His family bought the land in 2001 under a scheme designed to help those disadvantaged during the apartheid era.

The family had invested their life savings and gone into debt to buy the farm near Beaufort West.

Now they have sold the mineral rights to the land to an international company for 20m rand ($3m).

Future investment

They do not have electricity or running water, but Mr Ngondo said they will get electricity before too long.

He said he wanted to remain on the land and would use the uranium windfall to buy farm machinery.

"We are going to invest and improve the farm," he said. "I grew up with this lifestyle."

The first time he suspected there may be something valuable on his land was when one of his neighbours came round and offered to buy it.

He declined and shortly afterwards, a lawyer came and informed him London-based firm Urenco had discovered uranium in the area.


SEE ALSO:
Workers file $7bn uranium lawsuit
05 May 03 |  Business
Timeline: South Africa
14 Jun 05 |  Country profiles
Country profile: South Africa
17 May 05 |  Country profiles


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