By Hilary Mare
IN Namibia, mining has largely been extractive without beneficiation or value addition which over the years has led to exporting cheaply priced raw commodities, while importing expensive refined products.
Essentially and in order to correct this anomaly, it is time for Namibia to synchronise trading laws, prioritise the industry’s value addition and alternatively form value addition clusters in order to reap more from available mineral resources.
Notably, beneficiation and mineral-based value addition are vital for Namibia and the continent as a whole because these can lead to increased competitiveness and a rise in their share of global manufacturing hence the time has come for Namibia to take better advantage of its resource endowments and strong industrial base.
This is why when the De Beers Group of Companies recently launched the 2016 Shining Light Awards -A De Beers Young Diamond Jewellery Design Awards in Windhoek- last week under the theme, ‘Protecting Nature’s Beauty’, the milestone poised poignant reminder of the need to take care of the world’s finite natural resources, including diamonds whilst propelling the nations own cause for value addition.
Mineral value addition features a significant employment multiplier, which has the potential to create jobs for young Namibians and produce ripple effects throughout the economy, and that enhancing the linkages between Namibia’s large mining activities and manufacturing will pay income- and employment-generating dividends.
Owing to a significant drop in commodity prices on the world markets over the past few years mining companies need to refocus their energies away from production of raw materials to investing in value-addition and beneficiation strategies and technologies.
Namibia has a rich and diverse mineral resource base that should be an important contributor to suitable growth and development and if increased mining activity seen in the country was to ultimately result in more than just holes-in-the-ground, the crucial mineral linkages would need to be realised while resources are still available. To ensure the country maximised benefits from its mineral resources in terms of value, employment creation, skills and technology transfer and sustainable economic development, mining would need to promote local beneficiation and value addition in various channels inclusive of the laws governing mineral exploration.
Further, to maximise the development impact of mining, the Ministry of Mines and Energy needs to foster economic interdependencies between mining and the rest of the economy through maximising value addition and continue pursuing the goals of local beneficiation and value addition across the mineral resource spectrum.
Conclusively, we simply need to realise that massive industrialisation based on commodities is both necessary and possible.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015