Xoboxobos’ water woes still remain despite small-scale miners at the non-formalised mine hoping the issue would have been resolved.
Early this week the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Kornelia Shilunga, on a visit to the area said that it would certainly not happen overnight as a lot of technical work still has to be done before boreholes can be drilled to supply the small-scale miners with clean and safe water. She also handed drilling machines and protective clothing, among others, to the miners.
At least 50 small-scale miners extract gemstones at Xoboxobos, which is situated about 80 kilometres east of Uis, close to the famed Brandberg Mountains.
Xoboxobos falls under the Ministry of Mines and Energy as it is located in a mining zone.
Miners face a constant water shortage and due to its remote location and poor road conditions, it takes almost two hours to reach the mining area. At times miners have to fork out N$10 000 to buy water at Uis if the constituency office is not in a position to supply them with water that would last at least for two months.
“Normally we get 20 000 litres of water from the council. Currently the two tanks are almost empty. The water is used for drinking and other daily activities such as cooking and washing. When we collect money to buy water at Uis, people refuse to bring us the water because of the bad roads – that’s how bad the roads are,” one of the miners told the minister during her visit on Monday.
Miners said the condition of the road also makes it very difficult and “sometimes impossible” to get an injured or sick miner to Uis for treatment. “The road is really a concern to us. It is not that we are not accessible, the condition of the road makes us inaccessible,” bemoaned one of the miners..
Shilunga said the water shortage in the area is not new at all but will also not be solved immediately as they will have to send geologists to search for water close to where the miners settled in.
“They are not our responsibility alone, although they are under our ministry. We have to engage with others and see how we can come up with the best possible solution. As for the road, I have experienced it myself. I will write a report and hand it to the relevant ministry,” she said.
The miners mine gemstones such as tourmaline, amazonite, tiger eye and white crystal, among others. These gems are mined by hand but sometimes the miners use some basic equipment.