Windhoek-At yesterday’s official opening of the 2018 Mining Expo and Conference at the Windhoek Showgrounds, Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo noted that the government remains concerned about the export of Namibia’s natural resources without any value addition. The theme for this year’s Mining Expo and Conference, organised by the Namibia Chamber of Mines, is ‘Maximising the Multiplier Effect from Namibia’s Mining Sector”.
In a speech read on his behalf by the permanent secretary in the mines ministry, Simeon Negumbo, Alweendo stated that he is fully aware of the mining industry’s position on the matter that ‘miners are not manufacturers and manufacturers are not miners’.
“While this is true, I would like to believe that the mining industry still has a big role to play to ensure true manufactures of intermediary and semi-finished products succeed. Mining should support such industries by making minerals from the mine gate available to such manufacturing plants, and of course on commercial terms,” said Alweendo at his first Mining Expo and Conference launch since being appointed as mines minister.
Government on the other hand, he noted, will ensure that the investment climate is conducive to attract investors to come and further add value to the country’s minerals beyond the mine gate.
“I am also aware that the Chamber of Mines has made some valuable proposals to advance value addition. The proposal to establish a Joint Value Addition Committee, which was later enshrined in the NDP4, was a great idea from the chamber. I understand two independent study reports have been produced with recommendations on all minerals produced in Namibia and others under exploration stage,” said Alweedo.
During the launch, which was attended by amongst others, CEO of the Chamber of Mines, Veston Malango, president of the Chamber of Mines, Zebra Kasete, and first vice-president of the chamber, Hilifa Mbako, Alweendo pledged that his ministry is committed to concluding the much-awaited Minerals Beneficiation Strategy as the final deliverable.
“Due to government’s tight financial position, we have not been able to conduct the necessary field trips to a galvanizing plant in South Africa and a copper wire fabrication plant in Zambia. It is envisaged that experiences from these missions will greatly shape new policy proposals on how Namibia could attract similar investors. I look forward to working with the industry to conclude this priority matter, hopefully in the course of this year,” he said.
He continued that he has taken note of the opportunities that lie in the upstream industries and the potential to create jobs with SMEs and other suppliers of goods and services, adding that he was glad to learn that mining spends over 40 percent of total revenue on local suppliers.
“This is commendable, especially with high unemployment levels in the country. The fight against poverty is about job creation and every job counts. I am looking forward to fruitful engagements with the chamber on further avenues of job creation in line with the expo theme,” said Alweendo.