Speaking at the Chamber of Mines of Namibia Annual General Meeting this week, Rössing Uranium Managing Director, Werner Duvenhage revealed that the mining industry would roll-out a mining charter on a trial process. Duvenhage also turned his attention to the recent marine phosphate moratorium which has reportedly been overturned by cabinet.
He said, “I am pleased to announce that Council adopted the Mining Charter at the last Bosberaad meeting on 19 September, 2014. Chamber members are now implementing the Charter on a trial basis and experience gained will be discussed at the next Bosberaad. The industry is positioning itself to fully roll out empowerment strategies when official Black Economic Empowerment policy and legislation are in place.”
In June 2014, Chamber of Mines Chief Executive, Veston Malango responded to the Economist by stating, “It is not yet a public document. We can not therefore discuss the contents of the charter. We will be getting ahead of ourselves,” in a telephonic conversation. Almost a year later, the Chamber appears to have made swift progress. The government has mooted the idea of a charter as far back as 2009 primarily to increase the ownership of mines by previously disadvantaged Namibians.
On the issue of the moratorium on marine phosphate, Duvenhage said worringly, “The Chamber remains concerned that the 18-month period of the Cabinet moratorium on marine phosphate mining which was declared on 17 September 2013, has lapsed in March 2015 without much progress on the desired scientific studies to address concerns by the fishing industry.”
“It is now clear that it will be several years before environmental concerns will be clarified, thereby hampering investment decisions and socio-economic growth by marine phosphate players. I appeal to the relevant agencies of government to find an amicable solution without jeopardising the interests of any stakeholders” he said.