Like Las Vegas, the mining town of Arandis plans to shake off its dusty past and become a shining gem in the middle of the desert.
Formerly a dormitory town for the nearby mines, Arandis is gearing up to attract significant investment for multi-million dollar developments.
Entering Arandis from the highway, the signs of activity are obvious with buildings going up on both sides of the main road.
Arandis chief executive officer, Arandis Florida Husselmann said with the town known for its close relation with the mining industry, the town still has much to offer to the region.
“We see great potential in growing the town into an industrial hub that can serve the Erongo Region since it is centrally located between major industries, the ports and the hinterland. With the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) having its main campus here, the town is also a centre of excellence for the furthering of education.
“Our desert landscape and the proximity of several large mines, also open doors for niche-tourism such as mining tours, eco-tourism, or desert adventure safaris,” said Husselmann.
NIMT director Eckhart Mueller said he is passionate about the continued development taking place at the town.
“Arandis is situated outside the rust belt in the heartland of the industrial region and sports an excellent skills base,” says Mueller.
“NIMT with 3000 students is by far the largest supplier of skilled labour in the Erongo region and throughout the country,” Mueller said.
Some of the development currently underway includes a three-storey hotel, a health centre and a shopping mall that is being developed by Old Mutual.
Earlier this year, the town saw the opening of retail facilities, a large petrol station, schools and banking outlets thereby offering an alternative to the expensive coastal property markets.
Husselmann said Young Namibian entrepreneur Tuna Willem is building 120 low to middle income houses in the town and that residential development is one of the pillars in Arandis.
“The town has everything going for it, focusing on necessities that are in high demand in Namibia such as a safe, affordable living environment.
“The Town Council is passionate about working with developers. We have land in abundance and are able to develop it at a much cheaper cost than other parts of the country.”
Apart from Willem’s Osho Living Park, Husselmann noted, another 600 houses are on the cards, a power plant, a dry fishing plant, a mining museum, various accommodation facilities and an industrial park.
Several high-power individuals such as Deputy Trade Minister Tjekero Tweya and Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua have staked their reputations on Arandis, attracting investment and calling it an ‘excellent opportunity for industrialisation’ as set out in NDP4 and Vision 2030.
Arandis Corporate Services Manager Aune Gebhard explained that they are looking to develop renewable energy and to polishing factory for the minerals that are found nearby the town.
“With so many hours of sun and an abundance of minerals, these are logical areas for development, showing that Arandis wants to add value locally and in doing so, create jobs,” said Gebhard.
Mayor of Arandis Daniel Muhura said after an Investment Conference held in the town in 2011, Arandis is on the map as an investment destination of choice.
“The outcomes of the conference have been so positive that the Town Council has decided to organise a follow-up conference on 25-27 April to secure further financing for various projects.
“The Conference and Expo will promote Arandis as a centre of business growth and an excellent base for large and small companies active in the mining and energy sectors.
“Both events will focus specifically on manufacturing services and establishing a supply industry for the mining sector, as well as establishing Arandis as the hub of educational excellence for vocational and science education,” said Muhura.