An annual review from the mining industry released by the Chamber of Mines Namibia last week shows that the industry is struggling to achieve zero death policy from their members following the death of two employees last year in industrial related accidents.
The Chambers Vice President Werner Duvenhage acknowledged that the industry is concerned with loss of life and the rather high number of accidents at work recorded in 2013.
While acknowledging that the industry recorded tremendous growth from different players Duvernhage said, “ … Although the number of death in 2013 was a drop from five deaths suffered in 2012 the goal of zero fatalities was not achieved. The total number of lost day injuries for the year was 88 which equates to Lost Day Injury Frequency (LDIFR) OF 2.84, an increase of 10.5%.”
Duvenhage also expressed concern of the difficult times experienced by the Uranium industry which have seen prices of the commoditity plummeting to record low levels. The difficult times, Duvenhage admitted have left Areva continuing to operate under care.
“Due to the depressed uranium prices, Areva’s Trekkopje mine remained under care and maintenance waiting for market conditions to improve. Despite these negative developments in the uranium sector, the construction of Swakop Uranium’s Husab Mine remained on track and is scheduled to commence production in 2016 with ramp up to fill production in 2017,” he said.
The President of the chamber also expressed satisfaction with the relationship that the mining industry has created with Government describing it as cordial and fruitful.
He added that the diamond production sector also exceeded its target production targets for two years in roll while zinc production was hampered by a rather supressed low price internationally. His acknowledgement come in the wake of a looming mass retrenchment at Skorpion Zinc were the Vedanta owned mine is negotiating with trade union leaders to come up with an agreeable severance package for the victims of the retrenchments.
The mining industry is also generally impressed with their contribution to the economy through social responsibility programmes and taxation. According to the last released national accounts statistics by the Namibian Statistics Agency, the extractive industry is still contributing the lion’s share of the country’s total earnings.
The industry is also the country’s single largest contributing industry to the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Chamber’s President also expressed optimism that the ongoing projects including the Otjikoto Gold mine and Tschudi Mine will also beef up total contribution by the sector to the country’s revenue coffers as well as creating employment for the 27 percent people who are outside the job market.
He added that the ongoing world trends will also have a continued impact on the economy.