Optimism surrounds commodity prices – more mines in pipeline
Chamber of Mines, chief executive officer, Veston Malango said despite the global economic downturn, he is confident that commodity prices are likely to recover as positive signs were witnessed in 2016, particularly for base metals.
Malango this week said he believes that the worst of the commodities slump is over and with the many mines that came online in the last two years, gold and copper production has trebled, contributing to the growth of the industry and underpinning the national economy.
“We trebled gold production in the last 2 years due to the production at B2Gold’s Otjikoto Mine. Gold outperformed all the other commodities,” he added.
Malango said Namibia is the only African country where the industry has expanded with three new mines over recent years.
According to Malango, all the commodities prices are moving up and there is potential for a supercycle. He said that various signals show that base metal prices are picking up.
“The world has been struggling with uranium prices and our mines have also been affected as they are waiting for the prices to pick up so that they will be able to expand further,” he said.
IJG also in their recent outlook, view commodity prices as positive and said that the uranium price is likely to recover over the next year or two.
Meanwhile, Malango was happy to share the news that Gecko Mining’s Okanjande Graphite project situated 14 kilometres east of Otjiwarongo can potentially start production in March.
This will be Namibia’s second graphite project after the first graphite mine at Aukam is currently being assayed and reassessed for mining in the near future.
In an early outlook, Gecko anticipated mining approximately 420,143 tons of graphite annually and earlier work done by Rössing Uranium in the 90s indicated that the potential life of mine is in excess of 70 years. The deposit contains an estimated 34 million tons of graphite ore.
Malango also shed light on some of the other mining projects that are in the pipeline for 2017. North River Resources’, Namib Lead Mine, which was granted a mining license in early 2016 and also Namibia Rare Earths’, Lofdal Project, may both come onstream as fully operational mines this year.
According to Malango, currently the country has 20 mines and over the next couple of years the sector is likely to see further growth in the numbers.