Namibian deputy
minister of mines
and energy, Willem
Isaacks
 
Windhoek, Namibia — 06 November 2012 – Namibia expects investment in the region of US$3.5 billion in its mining sector over the next five years, with the sector accounting for 15% of the country’s total economic output.

Reporting this, allAfrica.com quotes the “Windhoek Economist” as saying that mining is a key sector of the economy, contributing around 15% to Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product and accounting for over 50% of the country’s total export earnings, according to deputy minister of mines and energy Willem Isaacks.

“While Namibia is endowed with valuable natural marine resources that are in huge demand all over the world, the government realises the need to protect these resources so that they can be sustainably exploited for the benefit of Namibia and its people,” he said.

“We expect those who invest in the Namibian mining sector to act responsibly while enabling Namibia to benefit from the development of its natural marine resources. In the same vein they must explore and develop pragmatic solutions for integration of new industries with existing industries without detrimental effects on the other,” he added.

Isaacks added that the Namibian government encouraged and had put in place various measures to attract foreign direct investment in its mining sector, but would not tolerate irresponsible mining operations or any activities that harmed its environment or other key sectors of its economy.

Speaking at the official opening of the Namibian Phosphate Walvis Bay head office, the deputy minister said that the company intended to develop the world’s first marine phosphate project off the coast, and would seek to establish Namibia as a premier rock phosphate producer, contributing to the economy and supporting ongoing crop production through the provision of phosphorus for fertiliser.

Namibian Marine Phosphate has invested approximately US$10 million on exploration and testing to date. According to the feasibility study completed this year, capital expenditure for the project would be around US$370 million over the first 3 years. Operating costs at full production are expected to be approximately US$160,000 per year.

The deputy minister indicated that the exploration company had been granted a mining licence by his ministry on condition that it satisfied all the necessary requirements, and the company still had to obtain an environmental clearance to be able to start with its actual operations.

The project is expected to employ 400 to 500 workers during the construction phase and will have a final permanent work force of about 150 persons directly employed, with an additional 200 indirect jobs.

Source: allAfrica.com. For more information, click here.