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Japan Prepares N$28 Billion Investment In Namibian Mining

By:Justicia Shipena

Namibia and Japan have signed agreements concerning rare earth metals and green hydrogen.

The Japanese government is prepared to invest $1.5 billion Yen in Namibian mining development. This was made known during Japan’s Economic, Trade and Industry Minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura’s recent visit to Namibia, to discuss bilateral relations.

The Japanese minister’s visit follows that of Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo, who visited Japan in April to discuss with Nishimura the importance of Namibia’s mineral resources and hydrogen.

Alweendo stated on Tuesday in Windhoek, that the minister’s visit is more proof that Namibia’s outreach to attract investment is bearing fruit.

“We have several people interested in Namibia simply because we have gone out and told people what Namibia can offer,” he explained.

Alweendo further stated that when it comes to the green hydrogen strategy in the energy sector, Japan is a vital worldwide partner that can help Namibia’s strategic plan perform even better.

“Not only in terms of becoming a potential offtaker for green hydrogen or ammonia, but also in terms of being part of the entire value chain of the synthetic fuel strategy that we have,” he added.

He said Japan is also investing in essential raw materials that Namibia needs to maintain its energy transition.

Nishimura is on an African tour that includes stops in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia and Madagascar.
Nishimura said his country wishes to exchange knowledge and engage in technological collaboration in order to develop mutually beneficial ventures.

According to him, if a Japanese business joins in mine development in Namibia, his government is prepared to give considerable support, including a budget of around $1.5 billion.

“Japan wants to collaborate not only for mining development, but also for human resource development, infrastructure development, and technology cooperation in the medium to long term,” he added.

At the same time on Tuesday, Namibian registered green hydrogen development company Hyphen Hydrogen Energy (Hyphen) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ITOCHU Corporation to explore areas for potential collaboration to drive forward Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest and only fully vertically-integrated green hydrogen project.

The two will now begin discussions on potential areas of collaboration on this historic multibillion-dollar green hydrogen initiative.
Hyphen CEO Marco Raffinetti stated, “We expect Japan to emerge as one of the key demand centres for green ammonia globally, and we are excited to explore areas for collaboration with ITOCHU to unlock supply into this critical market.”

Raffinetti believes Namibia has the potential to become a long-term strategic partner to Japan for the supply of green hydrogen, far beyond the scope of Hyphen’s project.
“Combined with the support of the Government of the Republic of Namibia that is progressively advancing the development of its green hydrogen economy,” he said.

Shinya Ishizuka, CEO of ITOCHU’s Africa Bloc, expressed excitement that ITOCHU, a prominent general trading and investment institution in Japan, is working with Hyphen to create a low-carbon civilization.

According to Ishizuka, ITOCHU will aim to create a wide range of ammonia value chains in various existing industrial applications as well as for future energy use through this collaborative development of green ammonia in Namibia, and will support our clients and industries in achieving low carbonization goals with a focus on Japan, Asia, and its surrounding markets.

“ITOCHU will initiate and enhance our industrial portfolio in the energy sector while achieving our commitments towards decarbonization activities in various prospective industries,” Ishizuka said.

Namibia’s Minister of Trade and Industrialisation, Lucia Ipumbu stated at the bilateral meeting with Japan, that the two ministers reaffirmed their commitments to strengthen bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

“Namibia expressed appreciation for Japanese companies’ interest in exploring opportunities in Namibia, particularly in the renewable energy, hydrogen, and health care sectors,” Ipumbu said.

Both ministers commend efforts to enhance and promote bilateral economic and commercial activity through the exchange of essential information and other cooperative relations.

“If both parties sign a competitive agreement, we will have tariffs that are negotiated, and at the end of the day, it will improve our trade statistics”, Ipumbu concluded.

Justicia Shipena

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