By Hilary Mare
THE Chamber of Mines has moved to engage government in a bid to improve local sourcing of mining inputs by widening the local supply base through harnessing upstream linkages.
Essentially, the Chamber has argued that the mining sector’s commitment to sourcing from local suppliers, which was 41 percent of total mining revenue in 2017, concludes that avenues to further develop the local supply base through upstream linkages do exist.
Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines Veston Malango last week highlighted that in this regard the Chamber has proactively engaged with high-ranking officials from the Ministries of Finance, Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development and Mines and Energy to define value addition within the mining value chain, what Namibia has achieved in this area, and opportunities for further exploitation.
Malango further stated that with success, the Chamber has also illustrated that while opportunities for value addition of minerals through manufacturing do exist, this does not fall within the ambit of the mining sector and that the responsibility lies with government to attract such investment.
Rhetoric and reality
“In recent years, policy rhetoric has become increasingly concerned with further value addition to Namibia’s minerals and much of this responsibility is borne by the local mining industry. However, many of these activities do not fall within the mandate, skills sets, or risk appetites of mining companies and mining related investments,” Malango added.
Stakeholder engagements by the Chamber have also extended to inductions for new diplomats, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, and the Junior National Council to spread awareness on the sector’s significance to the national economy and to create informed ambassadors for the industry.
Recently, the Chamber of Mines embarked on site visits to the new Okandjande graphite mine, as well as the Whale Rock Cement plant and the Namib Lead and Zinc mine currently under construction, to be updated about new projects and developments in the industry.
“To rectify some of the misconceptions on the mining industry as highlighted by recent media reports on retrenchments, the Chamber has engaged with the Mine Workers Union to inform them of the nature of mining, the sector’s contribution to national employment, and some of the remedial steps taken by the sector when faced with such challenges.
The industry takes heed of the harmful impact of one job lost, and adopts a collaborative approach to minimise these. Details of the affected employees have been communicated to the rest of the industry, with some already approached by newer operations in development,” Malango noted.
In the mining sector most commodity prices have taken a knock in the last quarter due to the ongoing trade wars emerging between the USA, China and Europe.
This has heightened geopolitical tensions between the global powerhouses and compounded widespread uncertainty among business communities and investors. Conversely, the uranium price appears to be on a slight rebound.
Announcements to place prominent uranium mines under care and maintenance and to suspend operations, which include Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine, and Cameco’s McArthur River and Key Lake operations respectively, have sparked a uranium price rise in the last two months, which is currently trading at US$26.10 per pound.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015