Namibia is poised to become a global leader in the production of green iron, a metal manufactured with zero emissions and powered by green hydrogen.
This development follows the launch of the HyIron Oshivela Green Iron project in Arandis, on Monday, with operations expected to commence in 2024.
Johannes Michels, the Managing Director of the HyIron Oshivela Green Iron Project, discussed the significant potential for Namibia in an exclusive interview with the Windhoek Observer.
He stressed that Namibia possesses an abundant supply of iron ore, capable of meeting the entire world’s demand. Currently, global demand for iron stands at 2.5 billion tonnes, with Africa’s demand at 60 million.
Michels explained that once the pilot project begins, Namibia aims to produce 15,000 tonnes annually, generating 50 job opportunities initially, which are expected to increase once fully operational.
“The potential is that Namibia has enough iron ore to supply the whole world with all the iron that is needed,” said Michels.
He also said that regions like Kunene, despite facing challenges like severe droughts and economic difficulties, are rich in iron ore resources.
Michels expressed optimism about lucrative agreements and partnerships with the steel industry.
The mine, located near Arandis on Farm Bloemfontein 109, utilizes an airtight kiln to reduce emissions to zero with the help of green hydrogen from a 25MWp photovoltaic power plant.
The only by-product generated in this process is water, which can be used in the electrolysis.
This project aims to process mineral resources on-site, retaining most of the generated economic value within Namibia.
It involves a consortium of companies and is supported by a project investment of N$600 million, with about 13 million Euros provided through a federal grant from the German government.
Michels also noted that by selling through the European Union trade, carbon emission taxes would be lower compared to traditional methods.
Vincent Malango, Chief Executive Officer of the Chambers of Mine, said the project is a significant opportunity for Namibia to transition to greener energy and produce green sponge iron as the world shifts away from fossil fuels.
He said Namibia is making history by using pioneering technology to bolster the country’s mining industry.
Malango said the project also positions Namibia as a pioneer in steel production, which automakers can use to produce green vehicles.
The HyIron Oshivela Green Iron project is set to become the first industrial climate-neutral iron production facility on the African continent.
Traditionally, iron production involves carbon emissions from the use of coke made from hard coal in blast furnaces, contributing significantly to global carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.