Posted on Tuesday, 30 November 1999 01:00

Namibia: Mining industry's mixed signals

By Roger Murray

Namibia has been hit hard by the sharp fall in prices of diamonds and base metals since late 2008. The output of high-quality gemstones by Namdeb, the 50/50 joint venture owned by the government and De Beers, is expected to drop by 50% to 1m carats this year. The jobs of one-third of the 2,600 people employed in onshore mining are at risk, while hundreds of lost jobs have been recorded in the emergent local cutting and polishing sector.?


But mineral exploration remains buoyant, and new uranium mines are being developed. Deals are still being struck between Australian, Canadian, South African and Namibian firms, with Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Brazilian companies in evidence. Around six Australian and Canadian firms have near-term uranium projects at the advanced-exploration or feasibility stage.?


Namibia’s minerals minister, Erkki Nghimtina, says the country is attracting “a reasonable level” of interest in mineral exploration, with 128 exclusive prospecting licences, 235 claims and four mining licences issued in 2008/09 (April-March). Australia’s Bonaparte Diamond Mining – having pulled out of offshore diamond mining last year – recently located a large phosphate-inferred resource on the northern coastline in a joint venture with Australia’s Union Resources and Black Economic Empowerment partner Tungeni Investments. Thanks to this find, Bonaparte has been taken over by Australia’s Minemakers.


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