The mining expo is set to kick-start today in the wake of strong growth and the sector having created 9 643 full time jobs in 2017.
According to the chamber of mines president, Johan Coetzee, expenditure on training and skills development also increased substantially for the period under review from N$82.8 million in 2016 to N$184.9 million in 2017.
Said Coetzee, “Aside from the Uranium sector, the immediate outlook for the mining sector is promising. In tough economic times, it also remains evident that mining is the bedrock of the Namibian economy. However, to ensure that the sector maximizes from high commodity prices and continues to grow, it is imperative that loose ends in the policy framework are addressed with urgency.”
The chamber also held its annual general meeting yesterday where the mines and energy minister, Tom Alweendo, said the sector can play an increased role in economic development when more minerals are discovered.
“More employment can be created when we are able to open more mines. Socio-economic empowerment can be more assured when more and more people are employed in the sector,” he said.
But before that happens, he said the mineral legislation has to be sufficiently attractive to inspire new investment.
He said it is also imperative for the regulatory framework to be clear and comprehensive in such a manner that investors are clear as to what is required of them.
“Additionally, it is necessary that the legal framework in place is fully enforced in an even-handed manner. In this respect I am happy to note that the current mining Act is under review and it is my understanding that such review is expedited and that it be finalised before the end of this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, mining’s fixed investment increased from N$3.46 billion in 2016 to N$5.73 billion in 2017.
Said Coetzee, “The uptick is also an indication that confidence is being reignited by improving commodity markets, and that operations are positioning themselves to benefit from the favourable economic conditions.”
Exploration expenditure has also seen a positive trend since 2015, with total exploration increasing from N$528 million in 2016 to N$562 million in 2017.
Expenditure by exploration companies spiked from N$99 million in 2016 to N$303 million in 2017 (204% increase).
Coetzee said a large proportion of these projects are likely to enter mine development in the near term.
He pointed out that members of the chamber paid out N$3.66 billion in corporate taxes and N$113.2 million in export levies in 2017.
On top of this, government pocketed N$817 million as PAYE.