The Ministry of Mines and Energy will use N$23 million for the promotion of investment in exploration, the deputy Minister Kornelia Shilunga said in the National Assembly while motivating the Ministry’s 2023/2024 budget.
The Ministry requested a budget allocation of N$250.7 million for the financial year 2023/2024.
Namibia has seen a peak in oil exploration activities with a vision to be an oil producing country and an energy hub for Africa through its green hydrogen project.
This month, the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor), in partnership with Shell and QatarEnergy, announced a light oil discovery in the Jonker-1X deep-water exploration well.
The well was drilled in Block 2913A & 2914B in the Orange Basin, offshore southern Namibia.
The drilling operations commenced in December 2022 and were completed in early March 2023.
According to Shilunga, the N$23 million for the promotion of investment in exploration is aimed at regulating the mining industry and to promote mineral resources potential as well as to attract investors.
“Through this programme, the ministry continues to embrace innovation to stimulate investment in the mining sector,” she said.
The deputy Minister noted that the Ministry is in the process of developing an online mineral rights application system to improve transparency and deepen public trust. This project is envisaged to be completed during the current financial year.
Shilunga said that the finalisation of the Minerals Bill remains a priority, adding that the project is at an advanced stage.
“The Ministry has secured a legal person from the Attorney General’s office to assist with the process of stakeholder engagement,” she said.
She also revealed that a facility for processing of semi-precious stones in Khorixas in the Kunene region was completed and handed over to the Ministry in December 2022, with a budgetavailable to operationalise the facility.
“Once operational, the facility will contribute towards employment creation and skills development in the region,” she added.
Shilunga told the August House that the Ministry will utilise N$79 million for energy supply and security, stating that despite the high volatility in fuel prices, the Ministry has maintained stability in the supply of petroleum products in the country.
“Although this has been a challenge, the Ministry was able to support the fuel industry and economy in general by ensuring the security of supply and accessibility of petroleum products,” she said.
She said the Ministry, through the National Energy Fund, subsidised fuel prices at a total amount of N$328 million.
Shilunga stated that the Ministry will continue to improve sector compliance and monitor the international and local markets, to ensure that petroleum products imported into the country are competitive and reflect the actual cost incurred.