Mining Industry spent N$82.8 million on skills development

The mining industry has spent N$83 million on training and skills development and awarded 33 bursaries to students last year, The Villager can reveal.

The in house training and development programmes and support provided for tertiary education by the mining sector continued to support and develop local skills capacity with job attachment and internships, The President of Chamber of Mines (CoM), Kombadayedu Kapwanga revealed. “In 2016 mining and exploration companies collectively employed 9 574 people in permanent positions. Total employment by the sector which includes permanent, temporary positions and contractors, decreased from 19 000 in 2015 to some 16 000 jobs in 2016 as construction of the new Husab mine come to and end,” Kapwanga said.

He added that the mining industry remains the backbone of the Namibian economy and opens new opportunities to the wider economy as the country is now reaping the benefi ts of new investment and reinvestment with three new mines in production. The Villager understands that Gold and Copper production has trebled last year and with the recovery of most commodity prices the mining underpin the national development goals and the focus is shifting to upstream manufacturing industries to produce high value mining input and thereby realise the multiplier effect in the economy and import substitution.

“The mining industry remains committed to and services as illustrated by the ever increasing lucrative Namibian spend in the last three years. The sustainability and continued success of the mining industry will depend on the competiveness of Namibia as an attractive investment destination for exploration and mining.

The further slide of Namibia’s ranking in the 2016 Fraser Institute report is a wake up call for government to bring to an end investor anxiety and uncertainty on NEEF policy as well as the Namibian Investment Promotion Act of 2016,” Kapwanga said. He further noted that the private sector has shown commitment by working closely with the government to ensure that Namibia retains its previous status as the most attractive investment destination in Africa for exploration and mining.

The annual report of the CoM states that despites the recorded contracted the mining sector is expected to continue growing. Swakop Uranium’s Husab mine produced its fi rst barrel of yellow –cake in December last year and is expected to ramp-up to full production in 2019 which will signifi cantly boost mining’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), by approximately 5 percent. Preliminary statistics produced by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), show that the mining sector contributed 11.1% to GDP in 2016 and recorded an overall contraction of 4.9%.

The Villager understands that the contraction was largely the result of a decline in the output of Diamonds, Lead Zinc. However, CoM is of the opinion that this contraction has been overstated as it has not properly captured the trebling of high value refi ned copper production in 2016 and the 10 percent year on year increase in the gold bullion output.

Overall mining contribution is also diluted by the exclusion of output from Zinc refi ning and Copper smelting activities not withstanding the decline in output of some minerals The Villager learnt.