Chamber of Mines welcomes cabinet decision

Niël Terblanché

The directive by the Namibian Cabinet that placed a moratorium on the export of unprocessed lithium and other essential minerals without adding any value has the full support of the Chamber of Mines because of the revenue potential.

Cabinet approved the prohibition for the export of certain critical minerals such as unprocessed crushed lithium ore, cobalt manganese, graphite, and rare earth elements

At the same time, Cabinet approved that smaller quantities of the listed minerals may be allowed for export at the discretion of the Minister of Mines and Energy subject to Cabinet endorsement.

“The Chamber welcomes the Cabinet decision on the understanding that the Cabinet is referring to the ban on the export of mineral ores, meaning ores of all the minerals mentioned in the Cabinet decision,” a statement by the Chamber of Mines said.

Veston Malango, the chamber’s Chief Executive Officer said in the statement that the government must control and regulate the export of unprocessed essential minerals in line with the African Mining Vision to allow for job creation and growth of the economy.

Malango said that the value addition of all critical minerals is a principle that has to be implemented in Namibia.

“The Chamber of Mines recognizes that this directive intends to ensure that Namibia does not lose out on any potential revenue that could be gained from value addition,” he said.

He was of the opinion that the new measures implemented by the government will not inhibit the valuable work done by mining companies in Namibia that intend to establish mining operations and processing facilities.

Malango, however, expressed concern about the requirement of an endorsement by the Cabinet on exports of ore in small quantities because it might delay critical metallurgical test work required in the design and establishment of local processing plants in future.

He indicated that the Chamber will proactively engage the Ministry of Mines and Energy to avoid unnecessary delays of mineral exports for testing purposes.

Zebra Kasete, the President of the Chamber of Mines said that he was convinced that the directive will not have any immediate repercussions on the plans of mining companies.

He said all the companies already have plans to add value to critical minerals locally even if it is only to the concentrate level to retain much-needed jobs.

“The Chamber will proactively engage government to collectively identify processing and value addition opportunities for Namibia’s critical minerals, and what enabling factors will be necessary to make Namibia an attractive investment destination for value addition opportunities,” he said.

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