International news within the industry of mining and metal, Jul, 17 2019
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Mining - The cornerstone of the Namibian economy

Rössing uranium mine, an open-pit mine near Arandis in Namibia. Photo: Wikipedia, credit: Ikiwaner
Rössing uranium mine, an open-pit mine near Arandis in Namibia. Photo: Wikipedia, credit: Ikiwaner
Published by
Markku Björkman - 07 Mar 2019

The mining industry is a key cornerstone of the Namibian economy. It accounts for about 10% of the country's GDP and over 50% of export earnings. The mining industry is also Namibia's largest investor right after the state and is responsible for almost 20% of all fixed investments.

The main mining products in Namibia are diamonds and uranium. Namibia is an internationally significant producer of high-quality diamonds and the world's fourth largest producer of uranium. Other important minerals include gold, zinc, copper and lead.

The Namibian mining sector has encountered several difficulties in recent years; In particular, the decline in the world market price of uranium has been a challenge. The mining sector is concerned about the state's plans to tighten the sector's taxation. The government's efforts to increase the sector's "namibianism" have also raised concerns.

Despite the challenges, several major mining investments are under preparation. The largest of these is the Uranium Mining Project at Husab, a subsidiary of Swakop Uranium, a subsidiary of Extract Resources, estimated at the US $ 1.7 billion.

The ownership of the underlying companies has recently been transferred to the Chinese company Guangdong Nuclear Power Co (CGNPC), which also reflects the strong position of the Chinese in Namibia. Recently, a significant iron ore discovery has also been made in the Kunene area in the north of the country. There is also a demand for environmental expertise. For example, the closure of old mines or the closure of already decommissioned mines will provide opportunities for environmental experts in the next few years.

energy situation
Namibia will face an energy crisis in the coming years unless it is able to find sustainable solutions to its growing energy shortage. Its current production capacity is sufficient to cover just over half of the country's annual energy needs of about 550 MW. Namibia is now heavily dependent on energy imports from its neighbours under the Southern African Power Pool. As energy needs grow also in neighbouring countries, this strategy is increasingly exposed to risks.

Namibia's territorial waters have significant gas reserves (the so-called Kudu gas), and the country's long-term strategy is to utilize these reserves to achieve self-sufficiency in energy production. However, there are still many uncertainties in the utilization of the gas field.

The hot potato in Namibia is oil. The coast of Namibia resembles the geology of the Brazilian coast where oil has been found. According to many estimates, oil reserves may be very significant, and during the current year a number of test drills have been conducted in the Namibian territorial waters, but have not yielded results.

Renewable energy sources have so far been neglected in Namibia. The country has the potential, especially in the development of solar energy. In terms of the amount of sunshine and its intensity, the country is the world leader, and in a sparsely populated country, its development would seem to be an obvious option, especially for rural electrification. An important source of renewable energy is also the so-called. Invader bush, a widespread malady in Namibia. It is already being used as a source of energy at a cement plant owned by the German Schwenk Group.