Windhoek-The mining industry remains one of the largest contributors to Gross Domestic Product, constituting 12.5 percent in 2015, and contributes an average of 50 percent to Namibia’s foreign exchange earnings. “The benefits of a modern and well-run mining sector to the Namibian economy are plenty and remain important drivers for economic growth,” said Veston Malango CEO of the Chamber of Mines.
Malango was speaking at the launch of the 2017 Mining Conference and Expo, which will be held on April 26 and 27 at the Windhoek Showgrounds. The Chamber expects about 90 exhibitors, including household names such as Rio Tinto, Rössing, B2Gold and Namdeb. The expo is traditionally is also a venue for industry suppliers who showcase their services and plenty of business is conducted.
The Mining Conference, which is an integral part of the expo, will cover crucial topics such as water security concerns, uranium market dynamics and mining contribution to national development, among others.
Commenting on the local mining industry, Malango emphasised the benefits the economy reaps from its well-established mining sector. The Namibian mining industry provides jobs to about 9 000 permanent employees, of which 95.5 percent are Namibians and only 5 percent are expatriates. Together with contractors, the industry provides jobs to about 19 000 people and given a multiplier effect of 7, the industry provides livelihoods to over 100 000 people. Malango added that at any given point about 3600 Namibians are being trained by the industry, mainly through the Namibian Institute for Mining and Technology (NIMT).
The industry has made a significant impact towards infrastructure development, running a desalination plant that also provides water for the coastal towns and installing significant power supply that can potentially be added to the national grid.
In terms of affordable housing, mines are moving away from constructing settlements in the middle of nowhere. Rather, they assist employees through housing schemes in established communities, significantly contributing to economic growth of towns like Otavi, and Otjiwarongo.
In all these endeavours the industry has developed solutions to urgent problems, hand-in-hand with government, local authorities, employees, unions and the Namibian nation at large.
At the recent Mining Indaba in Cape Town, Namibia was singled out as a success story in the implementation of the African Mining Vision (AMV) with shared value and shared benefits. This framework aims to ensure that mining is fully integrated with other sectors of the economy through upstream, downstream and side stream linkages and thereby realise optimal benefits from mineral resources towards socio-economic development of the continent.