WINDHOEK, 22 MAY (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Mines and Energy continues to invest in geosciences through surveys and mapping to discover the mineral potential of Namibia.
Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali said this when he officially opened the two-day Mining Expo and Conference in the capital on Wednesday.
He said the Geological Survey of Namibia has embarked upon a joint mapping exercise with the South African Council for Geosciences, and is currently interpreting the airborne geophysical data flow between 1992 and 2010.
It is also generating new electromagnetic and hyper spectral data, he added.
Katali said Namibia?s earth database continues to grow, and a new module on environmental geology was recently added and notable parts of the database are now accessible online.
The minister said the mining industry is busy expanding with three mining licences awarded to Auryx Gold (Pty) Limited (Ltd) for the development of the Oshikoto Gold (B2Gold) project in the Otjozondjupa Region; Shiyela Iron (Pty) Ltd for the iron project; and Zhonghe Resources (Pty) Ltd for the uranium project, both in the Erongo Region.
He said although there is no iron mine in Namibia, exploration for iron is ongoing, especially in the north-western parts of the country.
Three main iron prospects are known in Kaokoland, an area in the Kunene Region, which include the Orumana prospect, which stretches over 20km strike length and has 3.2 billion tonnes at 22 per cent iron.
The Otjondeka prospect, he said, has 1.05 billion tonnes at 24 per cent iron, adding that the Ondjou prospect consists of about 693 million tonnes at 24 per cent iron.
Other known deposits are also being explored further and are expected to create additional jobs in the mining industry, and boost the country's mining output and export earnings if found to be economically viable.
The Mines and Energy Minister further expressed concern over the health and safety of mine workers in the mining industry, saying the safety record of the mining industry has not been impressive, particularly during the year 2012, as a result of recurring fatalities.
He said the mining industry has lost seven mine workers - five in 2012 and two in 2013 - which is significant and worrisome and makes one wonder whether these fatalities could have been avoided.
Katali, however, commended the Namibian mining industry for the measures taken to address the safety in order to reverse this negative trend.
?Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) processes involving external assistance from third parties and the Ministry of Mines and Energy to review the safety in Namibian mines is a good indication of these efforts, and I look forward to the recommendations of the international mines? safety consultant,? he said.
The Mining Expo and Conference is aimed at showcasing the Namibian mining industry, present and discuss mining industry contributions to the Namibian economy and challenges facing the industry.
It is also aimed at engaging with stakeholders on business opportunities in the mining industry, particularly local suppliers and contractors, while promoting careers in the mining sector.
It is held under the theme ?Growing the Cake for Socio-Economic Prosperity?, and ends on Thursday.