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Home / Ministry mollifies mine owners …as stocks slide

Ministry mollifies mine owners …as stocks slide

2023-06-02  Edgar Brandt

Ministry mollifies mine owners …as stocks slide

The mines ministry took damage control measures yesterday to emphasise that the government has no intentions of seizing any stake from existing mineral or petroleum licence holders and said it remains committed to upholding the sanctity of existing contracts. 

The hasty action was prompted by a nervous reaction from global mining companies and their shareholders who fear losing lucrative mining concessions in Namibia. 

One of the knee-jerk reactions came from investors in Australian uranium company, Paladin Energy, who generate much of its revenue from Namibia and saw its share price drop more than 20% to its lowest level since August 2021. 

“However, the reality remains that Namibians are and remain disadvantaged because they may not have the financial and other means to exercise their rights in relation to natural resources, as such the state as supreme owner of these natural resources may demand a certain minimum stake through public enterprises such as Epangelo Mining or Namcor in any mineral or petroleum licences that may be issued in future,” the mines ministry clarified. 

A statement from ministerial spokesperson, Andreas Simon, note the mines ministry “has noted with disappointment, the wrong perceptions based on the remarks made by Hon Tom Alweendo during the workshop on maximising the potential of the mining and energy sectors in Namibia held at Swakopmund, Namibia on 29 May 2023. These wrong perceptions are circulating via reports on various media platforms”.

Simon pointed out media reports allege the “Namibian government considers taking stakes in mining and petroleum companies”. 

Simon noted that article 100 of the Namibian Constitution, states: “Land, water, and natural resources below and above the surface of the land and in the continental shelf and within the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of Namibia shall belong to the state if they are not otherwise lawfully owned.

“The ministry would however like to inform our stakeholders that the Namibian people have a legitimate expectation of having a share of ownership in the exploration and mining of our country’s natural resources. Cognizant of the fact that many Namibians might not have the individual capacity or the requisite resources to realise these rights or expectations in their individual capacities, it would be just that the government acquire these rights on their behalf,” the statement reads. 

Simond added that the government will exercise these rights in a balanced way while considering the interests of both investors and Namibians.

The spokesperson reiterated that this is a normal practise in Namibia particularly in the petroleum and mining sectors. 

“Having said that, the ministry would also like to assure current and potential investors that Namibia is a country governed by the principles of democracy and a rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, and which is enforced by an independent judiciary. Our government has proven many times that we respect and stand guided by those laws,” the statement added. 

Meanwhile, member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration, Tobie Aupindi has opposed the issuing of mineral resources rights to foreigners, who do not have Namibian shareholding interest.

Aupindi made these contributions on Wednesday during the ongoing oversight workshop. 

The week-long workshop is assessing the state of mining, energy and oil sectors in Namibia, including their contribution to the country’s economy, employment and sustainable development among others.

“I am aware that there are some mining rights owners of foreign nationality who do not have Namibian shareholding rights in whatever form and that should be completely done away with, and the proposed bill must make it clear that you simply cannot get a mineral licence in Namibia if you do not have the interest of Namibians who are the owners of these natural resources,” Aupindi said.
The proposed bill provides for Namibians to procure and maintain ownership of not less than 5% of equity shares in mining companies as may be prescribed by the mining charter.
“There has been mention of the beneficiation law that is coming, but there must be a transition period in this Act that allows that at a particular date, Namibia will no longer export its minerals in raw form and it should not just be left to the beneficiation discussions or proposals that are going on here,” said Aupindi.

Namibia joins other mining nations such as Zimbabwe, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Philippines and Peru in pushing for more value addition to natural resources.  

– Additional reporting by Nampa

Photo: Mining


2023-06-02  Edgar Brandt

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