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Mining Expo set to weather the storm

The current slump in commodity prices spells a sombre outlook for the global mining industry, yet Namibia is well-placed to weather the storm, said Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer Veston Malango at the launch of the 2016 Mining Expo and Conference on Thursday.

This year, the Mining Expo and Conference will be held on 27 and 28 April at the Windhoek Showgrounds, Malango announced.

The Chamber of Mines expects around 120 exhibitors varying from the country’s major mines to mining industry service providers. Big names like Rio Tinto, Namdeb and B2Gold have already confirmed their participation.

The theme for this year’s conference will be The Namibian Mining Industry – Weathering the Storm. “It comes as no surprise that declining commodity prices over the past few years have adverse effects on the mining sector locally and globally,’ said Malango.

“However, the Namibian mining sector finds itself in a fortunate position whereby recent investments are culminating in increased production. The ramping up of B2Gold’s Otjikoto Gold Mine and Weatherly’s Tschudi copper project, as well as the scheduled start-up of Swakop Uranium’s Husab mine are expected to offset any negative impacts on our industry,” he added.

Despite a slump in commodity prices, particularly for uranium, diamonds, copper and zinc, Malango remains positive about the Namibian mining sector. “The mining sector remains the largest primary contributor to Namibian GDP and the biggest export earner. In 2014, the sector employed a total of 17,770 individuals and contributes significantly to skills development,” he added.

Malango also praised Namibia’s sound regulatory regime. “The stable political climate in Namibia and the clear framework set out by the Government have made Namibia the number one mining investment destination on the continent for two years running as evidenced by the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies. The stable regulatory environment counter-acts the low commodity prices as it boosts ongoing investment in the Namibian mining sector, the realisation of which provides a buffer in tough times. The challenge is to maintain this prestigious status in light of new policies and legislation.”

Malango therefore, emphasised the importance of maintaining a favourable regulatory and investment climate in the sector.

“Namibia’s mining industry faces serious challenges with regard to water and power supply, as well as a dire need to upgrade railway infrastructure. We are engaging Government to discuss and resolve such challenges to sustain mining sector growth in the future,” he said.

The Mining Expo and Conference is the annual highlight on the calendar of the mining industry and the business fraternity at large. At this event stakeholders deliberate on the future of the sector and discuss pivotal issues such as global developments, water and electricity, infrastructure as well as skills development.

The Expo, which is organised in conjunction with the Mining Conference, attracts Namibians from all walks of life and showcases the Namibian mining industry as one of the best in Africa.

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