Staff Writer

Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, has announced the lifting of the suspension on the application for mineral rights.

These includes a proposal to amend the mineral rights law, would give the Minister power to auction certain mineral rights in line with the recommendations of the High Level Economic Panel on the Presidency. A Ministry’s statement on Monday places a temporary suspension on the application for mineral rights on 6 November, 2020, with the suspension/moratorium having expired on 31 August, as per the Government Gazette No.308. “The law will be amended to allow the Minister to determine only the particular license areas to be auctioned. This will be done through a legalised body such as the Mineral License Advisory Committee,” says Alweendo.

“The objective of the consultation is aimed at officially announcing the lifting of the suspension on the application of mineral rights and briefing the media of the new/adopted changes, e.g. the new application fees and other requirements that will come into effect as from 1st September 2021,” informs he.

The new fees were benchmarked against those in the Southern African Development Community SADC) region, keeping in mind that the new fees also allow Namibia to remain more attractive than other countries in the region, Alweendo says.

The suspension only affected prospective or new applications and was necessitated by the Ministry reviewing the requirements and procedures under the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act relating to the application for mineral rights and other provisions not included in the Act. It was proposed for purposes of efficiency, and to allow the ministry to complete this process within the shortest time possible.

The Minister said the applications for mineral rights will now be processed in the shortest possible time as the ministry is also to set up an online application process to clear the backlog in applications.

“The application process needs to be online. This will limit and/or cut out human interference regarding the handling of applications made to the Ministry of Mines and Energy,” the minister adds.