By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
In the past two months (May and June 2022), 14 759 tonnes of uranium, zinc, gold and 397 990 carats of diamond were dug out of Namibia by various multinational companies.
This is according to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) in its Mining Sectoral Report for May and June 2022.
Once the minerals are dug up, some go through little value addition and processing. They are sent to Walvis Bay for export. As for diamonds, most of them are sent to Botswana, while for gold, all of it goes to South Africa.
For the two months, the multinational company mining zinc in Namibia has dug up and refined 12 719 kilograms exported.
Zinc is mined mainly at two big mines, one being the Rosh Pinah mine by Trevali, a global base-metals mining Company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
The company planned to increase output, but it has suspended expansion at the mine after filing for protection from its creditors.
The second is the Skorpion Zinc mine which hosts the largest integrated Zinc operation and the only Zinc Refinery in Africa.
At Skorpion, beneficiation occurs as zinc ore is converted to the metal before export.
For the two months, the country had extracted 397 990 carats of diamonds. A portion of this is shared with local diamond polishers and with Namdia. In contrast, most rough diamonds are exported to Botswana before they are asold to the world.
For the two months (May and June), diamonds (rough and polished) brought in N$3,9 billion through exports, most of this through the rough export to Botswana, according to NSA trade statistics.
As for uranium, for the two months assessed, Uranium 1 052 kilograms was extracted from Namibia and exported, bringing in around N$1 2 billion.
The country uranium was extracted is shipped out to those who can utilise it for June 2022; France and China are the biggest consumers of Namibia uranium, and the whole of South Africa also took some of the country’s yellow cake.
As for gold, the sectoral reports show that for the two months (May and June 2022), 994 kilograms were mined in the country.
The trade statistics show that all of the country’s gold is exported to South Africa, which has an industry to process it.
In return, South Africa paid Namibia (the mining company) around N$952 million for extracting the gold from the ground.
At a national level, a concern has been raised that Namibia has not leveraged the abundant mineral resources to develop an internationally competitive industry.
Ideally, a competitive industry consists of a well-developed manufacturing sector that adds value to raw materials to produce either semi-finished products or products ready for market consumption in various industry sectors.
This is because the mineral sector’s contribution, however, has not yet reached its full potential in converting Namibia’s extensive mineral endowment to create corresponding advances in social and economic development across the country, the government wrote in drafting their Mineral Beneficiation Strategy.
The strategy was developed as an inclusive long-term modernisation and economic transformation programme that enables substantive and intensifying structural change and accelerates Namibia’s industrialisation.
The strategy aims to realise the entire social and economic potential derived from Namibia’s vast mineral endowment and promote investment, trade, and industrial development.
Beneficiation, or value-added processing, involves transforming a primary material (produced by mining and extraction processes) into a more finished product, which has a higher value.
Each successive level or stage of processing adds value and permits the product to be sold at a higher price than the previous intermediate product or original raw material.
The status of mineral beneficiation in Namibia varies, with some mineral commodities being exported as raw ores or mineral concentrates, while others are shipped as refined metal.
As a result, most of the minerals are shipped in raw form or semi-processed from concentrate.