WINDHOEK – The mining industry continues to be a significant driver of domestic economic growth to the extent that during the last four years over N$32 billion has been invested in new mines and reinvestments.
In addition, the greater proportion of mining profit generated by local mining companies is actually spent in the country, the Chamber of Mines of Namibia said yesterday.
In this regard the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) yesterday hosted a forum on “Supporting Effective Mining: Local Procurement Strategies and Best Practices in Namibia”.
The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute and the Mining Shared Value Initiative of Engineers Without Borders provided resources to conduct the forum on the state of local procurement in the mining industry.
“Local procurement promotes local participation in the mainstream economy and advances the socio-economic benefits that are derived from the mining industry,” said Nust vice-chancellor, Prof Tjama Tjivikua.
“Moreover, it can bolster much-needed local employment creation and promote the development of vital skills and actuate technology transfer.”
In a speech read on his behalf by Prof Godfrey Dzinomwa from Nust’s mining and processing department, Tjivikua noted that the current downturn in the mining industry has necessitated a relook at key policies and calls for the revision and interrogation of current practices within Sub-Saharan Africa and the need to align them with international best practices.
Other regions of the world also need to step up their regulations to increase the economic spin-offs that accrue to local industries. In that regard, it is important to underscore the need for a conversation of this nature, particularly within the Namibian context,” said the outgoing Nust boss.
He noted that in his view, the ‘paradox of plenty’, or ‘resource curse’ as is sometimes called, can only be overcome by developing strong backwards supply chain linkages between mining activity and local suppliers, which in turn can be accomplished by paying increasing attention to local procurement in order to increase the economic benefits of mining.
“Often we think that this can be taken care of by regulations only but there is increasing evidence that mining companies are also motivated by enlightened self-interest. They want to engage with local communities and to keep them supportive of their operations, independent regulations, and that is why they are increasing buying local, where it is possible to do so,” said Tjivikua.
He added that it is important for Namibia to draw relevant lessons on how best regulations can be crafted and modified in the interest of maximising the purchase of local goods and services.