The Chamber of Mines chief executive officer, Veston Malango has allayed fears of a possible negative shake-up in the economy in light of the indefinite suspension of operations at Tschudi mine and Langer Heinrich uranium mine.
Speaking to The Villager at the back of uncertainties over the Tschudi mine that has seen operations compromised by a significant water ingress, Malango said the mine is not poised for a close-down.
He said the crisis was rather within the yard of the mine’s London based major share holding company, Weatherly International which he says will not rub off on the mine’s operations.
“Tschudi mine is intact. It’s up and running. So what’s the problem with Tschudi? They have got their own operational problems, water and all that but Tschudi mine is not closing down. That article, I have seen, it’s misleading, to say that the end of an era. No! There is nothing like that,” he said.
Malango was making reference to a Mining Review Africa article tiled End of the road for Namibia copper producer which speculates that Weatherly “may soon close its doors for good as its finances are unable to support its day-to-day operational requirements.”
The mine issued a press release last week in which it indicated that its water flooding levels had been stabilised although “it is not currently possible to assess the length of time required before full mining operations can be recommenced, nor can the full financial impact be assessed at this time”.
“The only mine that has gone on care and maintenance is Langer Heinrich, that one was expected. There is nothing surprising because it’s Uranium prices, that you know,” he said.
A report from the mines ministry highlighted that copper cathode production at the Tschudi mine remained on target last year as producing 15 466 tonnes.
Meanwhile, Weatherly International’s Otjihase and Matchless copper mines also had operations paused in 2015 and thereafter a start-up plan was drawn to commence operations.
“The start-up plan is being developed at Otjihase mine with a strong focus on training and skills development, to secure the necessary human capital for when full operations commence. A similar approach is being considered for the Matchless mine,” former chamber of mines president Johan Coetzee is quoted by the media as saying.
Mining remains one of Namibia’s major growth driver and the mines and energy ministry has in the meantime managed to collect N$1.3 billion in mineral royalties into the state revenue fund during financial year 2017/18, Shilunga has disclosed.
On top of this, N$2.3 million was also collected from mineral licenses with total export earnings adding to the coffers another N$23 billion.