JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Namibian government was offering earn-in exploration licences to joint venture (JV) partners in strategic minerals including copper, iron-ore, gold, diamonds, marine phosphates and uranium, Epangelo Mining GM mineral resources extraction Phillip Pendukeni said on Tuesday.
Epangelo is a 100% State-owned exploration and mining company, which ventures into JVs with private sector companies that earn shareholding as they reach key developmental milestones.
Speaking at the Namibian investment seminar at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Pendukeni told the well-attended gathering that Epangelo had 39 exploration licences on offer in eight of Namibia’s 13 regions.
“We’ve strategically selected areas for exploration and we’re inviting interested parties to take up the opportunities we offer,” he said, adding that mining, which already contributes between 8% and 12% of the country’s gross domestic product, had been identified as an important dynamo of the Namibian economy.
The earn-in framework began with an agreement being entered into with JV partners, with Epangelo’s 100% diminishing as the shareholding of the JV partner increased.
Namibia, which has 2.1-million people living on 824 292 km2 of land, has a consultative mining legislation and tax regime.
“This means that all the stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide an input if there are any envisaged changes to legislation and tax regimes,” Pendukeni said.
Under Namibia’s Vision 2030, the theme for the mining sector was to ensure that the country’s mineral resources were strategically exploited and optimally beneficiated, with minimal environmental impact.
Epangelo was operating as both an instrument of public policy and also as a business organisation.
In 2011, Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy announced that the licensing of strategic minerals would be awarded to government mining entities and that certain minerals would be declared strategic.
It added that there would also be an increased focus on beneficiation.
Currently, 99% of mined products are exported in raw form, apart from the cutting and polishing of diamonds that takes place in Namibia, and the export of lead in ingot form and uranium as yellow cake.
“We want to seek to go downstream so that it creates employment opportunities for the Namibian people,” he added.