UIS – In direct economic contribution to Namibia, the Uis Tin Mine in the Erongo region has spent close to N$200 million on mine development and the majority of this expenditure has taken place locally.
What’s more is that all permanent staff at the mine are Namibian citizens.
This is according to mine manager, Ralf Schommarz, who stated that: “In supporting the local economy, we have employed from within the local community wherever possible. This also supports the local economy as stores and restaurants as well as other businesses have opened in Uis and substantial developments have occurred.” Schommarz made these remarks on Wednesday when welcoming Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, who was visiting the area with his ministerial delegation.
Schommarz emphasised that tin is literally the glue of the technology revolution, as some 40% of all tin is consumed to solder semiconductors and circuitry.
According to the mine manager, the current global shortage of semiconductors is driving the demand for tin in an already constrained supply market.
“Tin is predicted to be the metal most positively impacted by the development of future technologies and ‘the internet of things’, including energy-generation and energy-storage devices. Tin, tied with copper, is the best performer on the London Metals Exchange (LME) in the first half of 2020,” said Schommarz.
On supply shortages, Schommarz noted that the tin market has faced a consistent supply deficit in recent years and is forecasted to remain in deficit until 2022.
He explained shortages are due to Covid-19 production cuts, production cuts from several Chinese smelters, closure of Chinese production plants in Yunnan, reduced exports from Myanmar and general uncertainty surrounding Myanmar coup.
Also, the global supply shortages stem from environmental and regulatory hurdles in Indonesia coupled with depleting resources and grades from Latin American supply.
However, he noted that ample opportunities for growth exist in the market which will serve to close the existing demand-supply gap.
Schommarz also stated that the global tin price has recovered to pre-Covid-19 levels.
“The semiconductor industry is one of the biggest consumers of solder, and global demand for semiconductors has a significant effect on the tin price due to the development of smart devices. Demand for semiconductors is set to increase with the uptake in the 5G market, necessitating the development of new technology.”
On water supply, the mine manager stated that processed water is supplied from well fields and open-pit lake areas in the surrounding mining area.
Schommarz said the mine further has an objective of identifying mineralised pegmatites within the project and regional area for potential expansion with the growth of portfolio through acquisitions in the country and elsewhere in Africa.
“Namibia is a stable investment jurisdiction and the upgraded port of Walvis Bay serves as the point of export for the company’s mining products. Mining is the biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy in terms of revenue and consequently, an important industry. As such, this encourages foreign investment in the country,” Schommarz concluded.