Edgar Brandt Windhoek-Namibian diamond production during the 2017/18 financial year was just over 1.8 million carats while over 240,000 carats of Namdeb run-off were offered locally to Namib Desert Diamonds (NAMDIA) and local sight holders. The gems offered locally were valued at slightly more than N$360 million compared to about N$291 million in the 2016/17 financial year. According to Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Kornelia Shilunga, this achievement has yielded an increase in beneficiation activities and enabled NAMDIA to fulfil its mandate. “A significant improvement of rough diamonds converted into polished has been observed due to improved monitoring, reporting and stakeholder engagement, by the ministry, in driving the beneficiation agenda. To that effect, 54 percent of rough diamonds offered to the local sight holders has been processed locally,” said Shilunga last week during the motivation of her ministry’s budget in Parliament. Despite the financial distress experienced during the 2017/2018 financial year, the Ministry of Mines and Energy has managed to meet most of its obligations with limited resources by embarking upon activities that are key in boosting the economic growth. During the motivation, Shilunga noted that N$23 billion was generated from mineral export earnings during the 2017/18 financial year while N$28 million was earned from petroleum exploration and production rental fees. Additionally, N$2.3 million was collected from mineral licences while royalties added another N$1.3 billion to the State Revenue Fund. Also, more than N$12 million was allocated for the monitoring, regulation and facilitation of the diamond industry. “In realising the speedy evolvement of the diamond industry, the ministry initiated the review process of the Diamond Act, 13 of 1999 to ensure that the law governing the industry is responsive to the industry dynamics. This process is anticipated to be finalised in the next financial year. In ensuring that the diamond industry remains protected against illicit diamond activities, Namibia must remain in adherence to minimum requirements of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and international best practices, thereby upholding a good image of Namibian diamonds and meeting international market standards,” said Shilunga. The ministry has received an overall budget allocation of just over N$264 million, which is distributed among seven programmes. The total development budget is close to N$94 million. The priorities of the Department of Mines during the current financial year are, among others, to finalise the Minerals Bill and its regulations and the review of the Minerals Policy to align them to the African mining vision. “The development of the minerals beneficiation strategy remains key to the ministry in ensuring the sustainability of the sector and export of value added mineral products. The joint value addition committee has made significant progress in this regard and a tender for the development of the strategy will be awarded in the near future,” Shilunga added. The prime responsibility of the mines and energy ministry is the promotion and regulation of the extractive and energy industries in the country, including the collection of royalties, and ensuring that safety; health and environmental standards are consistent with the relevant national policies, legislation, regulations and international best practices.
New Era Reporter
2018-04-24 09:37:33 6 months ago