Namibia - Mining and MineralsNamibia-Mining-and-Minerals
OverviewMining, Namibia’s leading economic sector, accounts for roughly 10 percent of Namibia’s gross domestic product (GDP) every year. Historically, diamond mining has been the leading sub-sector of Namibia’s mining industry. NamDeb, the 50:50 joint venture between the Namibian government and Debeers, is the primary land-based diamond mining company. Debeers Marine handles off-shore diamond mining.
Namibia is the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium oxide. The nuclear industry continues to fuel the demand for uranium, due mainly to China’s expansion. Rio Tinto’s Rossing Uranium mine, in production since the mid 1970’s, is the world’s third-largest uranium mine. The Husab mine, adjacent to Rossing and believed to be the world’s 4th largest uranium deposit, was acquired by a Chinese company, and development of the mine started in early 2013. The mine achieved its first production of uranium ore concentrates in December 2016, and has been increasing production since then. Paladin’s Langer Heinrich mine has been in operation since 2006. French nuclear company Orano’s Trekkopje mine has not been in production since 2013 due to flat international uranium prices. Namibia is also a leading producer of zinc. There are two operational mines: Skorpion Zinc (operated by Vedanta Resources) and Rosh Pinah (owned by various shareholders, with Exxaro Base Metals owning the largest interest at 46%).
In 2012, Namibia East China Non-Ferrous Investment announced that it had discovered large deposits of iron ore in the Kunene Region, in the north-western corner of Namibia. The company’s general manager, Ming Li, said they had discovered a deposit of 2.37 billion tons of iron ore, which has a lifespan of about 100 years. Over the past four years, the company has invested US$37.5 million in further mineral exploration, and it expects to start mining iron ore by late 2018.
Further, Lodestone, a mining company with U.S. shareholding has begun operations to extract and develop iron ore deposits in eastern Namibia. The Lodestone Dordabis mine commenced production in 2015, the first operational iron mine in Namibia. The magnetite and hematite products are being sold to local niche consumers, such as Ohorongo Cement. Local sulphuric acid and iron ore production are being consumed as inputs by Namibian operations, exemplifying how sector mining sector growth leads to the expansion of up-stream and services sectors.
Finally, the outlook for lithium and cobalt is also good, with deposits under development with new investments. Desert Lion began shipping lithium ore in 2018, with a first shipment of 30,000 tons. Gecko Opuwo Cobalt is developing a cobalt deposit in Kunene Region.
Other large mining operations include:
|Weatherly Mining Namibia||Weatherly International*||Copper mining|
|Okorusu Fluorspar||Solvay Fluor||Fluorspar (CaF2)|
|Otjosondu Manganese mine||Shaw River Manganese||Manganese|
|Desert Lion Energy||Desert Lion Energy, Inc.||Lithium|
|Gecko Opuwo Cobalt||Gecko Namibia, Pty.||Cobalt|
Leading Sub-SectorsThe Namibian mining industry is well-developed and sophisticated. Many local equipment and service providers exist to facilitate the distribution of foreign goods or services. U.S. goods and services in the following fields are well represented in Namibia (although South Africa and Europe are the largest sources of foreign mining equipment):
- Hauling vehicles and excavation equipment,
- Drill Rigs,
- Automated Controls,
- Mining Processing,
- GPS Mapping,
- Communications Systems, and
- Materials Handling Technology.
OpportunitiesUranium deposits in the exploration phase include Bannerman Resources’ Etango Project for which the company continues to seek investment partners, and Forsys Metals’ Valencia project, which is still in the feasibility stages.
|Company||Location||Deposit Type||Measured & Indicated Resources||Inferred Resources|
|Forsys Metals Corp||Valencia||Hard rock||21,500 tU|
in 0.016% ore
in 0.012% ore
|Bannerman Resources||Etango||Hard rock||41,500 tU|
in 0.021% ore
in 0.0197% ore
There are many other companies engaged in exploration and mining activities for various other metals/minerals. Desert Lion Energy began shipping lithium concentrate from Namibia’s first large-scale lithium mine in the Erongo region of Namibia in April 2018. Cobalt has been discovered near
Opuwo in the Kunene Region of Namibia, and Celsius Resources has a 2020 projected start for production.
For a complete listing of companies and the types of mining licenses they have been awarded, check the Ministry of Mines and Energy website (see resources section below). The Ministry typically publishes an up-to-date list of different mining license types monthly.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank and the U.S. Trade Development Agency have added considerable value to numerous African mining operations and enhanced opportunities for U.S. businesses. (See Chapter 7: Trade and Project Financing for additional information on these agencies.)
Web ResourcesChamber of Mines of Namibia http://www.chamberofmines.org.na/
Ministry of Mines and Energy http://www.mme.gov.na/
United States Geological Survey https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/
Namibia’s Mining Policy is governed by several laws, including the following:
- Minerals Act 1992: www.lac.org.na/laws/2008/4189.pdf
- Diamonds Act 1999: http://www.mme.gov.na/pdf/diamond_act_of_1999.pdf
- Minerals Policy to ensure the continued sustainability of the industry and its contribution to Namibia’s socioeconomic development: www.mme.gov.na/files/pdf/minerals_policy_draft_final.pdf
Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of more than 100 offices across the United States and in more than 75 markets, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.
Namibia Equipment and Machinery Trade Development and Promotion