The Ministry of Mines and Energy in Namibia has announced that as from 1st April this year, all applications for a mining licence in Namibia must have 15% local owners. This follows the completion of a review of the Mining Act which covers prospecting and mining activities.
According to the ministry, all applications by Namibian nationals for the transfer, cessation, assignment of mineral licences to foreign companies or persons may be granted provided 15% interest in the company is retained locally.
Andreas Simon, the ministry’s spokesperson alluded to the fact that Namibia is home to many companies engaged in exploration and actual mining. Very few of these companies have Namibian owners. In some cases where Namibians had ownership, they ended up selling their stake to international companies. “However, this would no longer be the case. The transfer, cessation, assignment of mineral licences by Namibians to foreign companies/persons will end after 1 April 2021,” he said.
Promoting local ownership of mines
He further added that the recent decision had been communicated to the public. “The mines and energy ministry and the general public have been advocating local ownership and participation in the mining sector – by granting exclusive prospecting licences to indigenous people, in the hope of curing the absence of local ownership,” he said. Mr. Simon also mentioned that most Namibians, after acquiring mineral rights, engage in the wholesale transfer of mineral licences to foreign entities or persons without insisting on retaining local ownership.
The latest economic outlook by the Bank of Namibia predicts that the mining and quarrying industries will record a 5,4% growth this year – after experiencing a slump of 17% last year, and in 2019. Most of this growth is expected to come from diamond production, but uranium is still expected to post negative growth this year.