The Chamber of Mines of Namibia is celebrating its golden jubilee this year, marking 50 years of excellence and dedicated service to Namibia’s mining industry, from its inception in 1969 to 2019.
The 8th Namibian Mining Expo and Conference, slated for 8th and 9th May 2019 at the Windhoek Show Grounds, will hallmark the 50th birthday of the Chamber of Mines. “From its modest beginnings on 9 May 1969, the Chamber has endeavoured to serve the mining industry with excellence,” said CEO Veston Malango. “Started as the Association of Mining Companies in South West Africa, the Chamber and its members have made an immense contribution to the Namibian economy over the past five decades. The industry fully supported the young republic after Independence in 1990 and remains dedicated to promoting Namibia as the prime mining destination in Africa.”
Malango added that the success of the Namibian mining industry would not have been possible without close cooperation and support from Government. “We have always strived to reconcile the interests of mines, workers and the economy at large through an open dialogue with our Namibian leaders,” said Malango. This has earned the Chamber of Mines recognition in Africa. It is often asked for advice by its counter-parts from other African countries when tensions mount between Governments and mining companies.
For Malango, it is this ability to act as an honest broker that is key to the Chamber’s success. ‘We have demonstrated that we are not just fair weather friends. The industry continues to contribute to Namibia’s socio-economic growth even in challenging times, while the Chamber of Mines plays an active role in shaping a healthy regulatory and policy environment, and through its committees serves as a strong peer review mechanism for the industry on issues of health and safety, environment, human resources and sustainability. This testifies to the strong leadership in both the industry and Government and creates confidence that we can tackle complex issues that will culminate in win-win solutions for the Namibian nation, the Government and the sector.
Commenting on the performance of the industry, Mr Malango said that the mining sector was the best performing sector in 2018, as reported in the Preliminary National Accounts released by the Namibia Statistics Agency, recording a strong growth rate of 22%.“According to these statistics, the positive industry growth was driven by production increases of diamonds and particularly uranium, in comparison with 2017,” said Mr Malango.
The Chamber of Mines will also report on full industry performance at its AGM which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at the Windhoek Country Club.
Symbolic during this anniversary year is the new lease of life for some of Namibia’s older mines. Three old mines will be brought back into operation which is symbolic of where the industry has come from and where we are moving to. These are most notably the reopening of AfriTin’s Uis tin mine and North River Resources’ Namib Lead and Zinc mine, which are both scheduled to enter production in the course of this year. As such, the conference programme includes presentations on the historic beginnings of these mines and how they are being brought back to life. In addition, Desert Lion Energy is also in the process of redeveloping the Helikon and Rubicon lithium mines just outside Karibib. In light of the decreasing life of mines for some of Namibia’s operations, another topic of discussion on the conference programme is how to ensure the sustainability of the sector through the discovery of new mines.
“It’s imperative that Namibia attracts investment into exploration as this will increase the likelihood of new discoveries and the development of new mines,” noted Malango. An important outcome of 2018, which the Chamber expects will contribute significantly to boosting new investment into exploration in Namibia, was the decision taken by the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Tom Alweendo, to remove the Additional Conditions to Licences for exploration companies. The Additional Conditions were simply impractical for companies in this phase of the mining lifecycle and constituted a major barrier to investment in exploration.
“The Chamber recognizes this as one of its many achievements in the policy space and remains committed to ensuring a favourable policy environment for another 50 years to come,” said Malango. “I look forward to celebrating 50 years of excellence with you all at the Mining Expo & Conference.”
The Namibia Mining Expo and Conference will feature an exhibition by mining companies, service providers, suppliers as well as Government organisations and other stakeholders. The conference programme will feature speakers from a variety industry players, covering topics on the re-opening of historic mines, achieving sustainable growth for Namibia’s mining industry, Namibia’s exploration potential and raising capital for exploration, upstream linkages in the Namibia mining industry and challenges arising from transfer mis-pricing among others.