Korea hopes to tap into Namibia’s critical mineral reserves. Namibia and Korea yesterday held a first energy and resources business forum, themed, ‘Enhancing Economic Cooperation and Investments in the Energy Resource Sector’. The Korean delegation is comprised of government officials and a strong private sector delegation.
The event was aimed at fostering collaboration and partnership between Korea and Namibia in the dynamic energy sector. The forum presented a unique opportunity for Namibian businesses to engage with their Korean counterparts and explore potential collaboration to potentially shape the future of the energy industry.
Welcoming the delegation, mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo said Namibia is equipped with the right ingredients of critical minerals for a just energy transition. The minister stated there is too much exploitation in the sector, which Namibia is trying to escape.
“Namibia is now only open for investors that are open for a win-win outcome. We want investors that can help us be an industrialised economy and we can industrialise only if you add value here,” said Alweendo.
James Mnyupe, presidential economic advisor, noted that the desired situation is for Namibia to develop an internationally competitive industry in which beneficiation and value-added minerals or metals become feedstock in the field of manufacturing of semi-finished products or consumer end products.
Value addition in the mineral sector, he said, is currently not happening to an extent that would maximise the benefit for Namibians. Mnyupe further stated, in terms of underdeveloped opportunities, discoveries that are currently not being mined at full scale include lithium, graphite, cobalt, dysprosium, yttrium, lanthanum, cerium and gadolinium.
“Opportunity area sectors include smelters, refineries and manufacturing. Namibia in general and the mining industry in particular experiences a skills shortage in several technical areas. Therefore, investment in skills development is critical,” said Mnyupe who doubles as green hydrogen commissioner.
Yoon Jick, secretary general of Korea’s bid committee for World Expo 2030 and Special Presidential Envoy, said Korea is open to assist countries like Namibia who are open to learn from its success stories. Jick added his country wants to achieve long-term beneficial relations with Namibia. He stated they aim to go beyond minerals exploration to tap into refinery prospects.