By Irene !Hoaes
Government is pleased with the mining sector’s performance between 2006 and 2007.
The industry announced a turnover of N$13.8 billion.
The Minister of Mines and Energy, Erkki Nghimtina, however, expressed disappointment over some mining companies who defy the agreement on paying royalty taxes.
“It is disheartening to note that after the Chamber of Mines and the ministry reached an agreement on the applicability of the Government Notice of 2006 imposing payment of royalties by mining companies, there are still a few companies that continue to defy the directive,” Nghimtina told a gala dinner over the weekend.
Many industry players disputed the payment of the royalty tax, although the Chamber of Mines said many of its members are currently paying the levy.
Nghimtina noted that his ministry is planning to revisit the practice of raw material beneficiation.
“To this end, my ministry plans to consult with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to bring together the stakeholders in order to put to an end this practice by defining a compulsory percentage of raw materials to be made available to the beneficiation projects,” the minister said.
The Exploration Processing Licences (EPLs) also came under attack.
Nghimtina charged that some individuals and companies have been granted too many EPLs yet no meaningful exploration is taking place.
“The time of holding and not developing such EPLs will come to an end soon,” Nghimtina warned.
He, however, recognised those who are developing all their EPLs.
Nghimtina also expressed concern over what he termed ‘the growing trend of resorting to unnecessary time consuming and resources wastage in court litigations’.
He urged industry players to resolve any grievances or perceived grievances before engaging lawyers.
The minister also warned against the effects of industrial action on the industry and the country’s economy.
He urged both mining management and labour unions to dialogue and find peaceful resolutions to disputes.
Nghimtina appealed to the Chamber of Mines to keep the ministry informed of all developments pertaining to health and safety, research and development and any other matters of interest, including any negotiations that have the potential to have profound impact on the mining industry.
He said mining continues to be the backbone of the country’s economy, despite the relative growth of other sectors.
“The industry is still a major pillar of the economy, contributing disproportionately towards State revenue earnings through the payment of royalty taxes as well as employment creation,” Nghimtina added.
He said the ministry will continue to ensure the maintenance of a stable and competitive fiscal and legislative environment within which business can thrive and attract new capital injection for expansion and sustainability of the industry.