Mining industry needs to periodically review mineral licensing legal framework to encourage investors – minister
Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo recently said in order to attract more investment in the mining sector, the industry has to periodically review mineral licensing legal framework.
Speaking at a Debmarine Stakeholder event, Alweendo said it is self-defeating when impractical licensing conditions are imposed; or when policies are unpredictable thereby creating policy uncertainties.
Alweendo stressed that it is necessary to do away with all these roadblocks in order to ensure that the country continues to be competitive in attracting investment, both local and foreign.
“For example, it is not helpful when it takes an inordinate long time for us to finalize the processing of licensing applications,” Alweendo added.
The minister said the Namibia has to do everything possible to attract investment in mineral exploration, adding that without exploration, no new mines can be discovered.
“We also know that exploration is a high risk investment. When you invest in mineral exploration there is no guarantee that you will discover minerals. It is estimated that the chances that an exploration will lead to a successful mining operation is 1:1000 and the lead time can be as long as ten to twenty years,” he added.
Alweendo further noted the importance of understanding the country’s mineral potential, saying that there is a need to have knowledge of what minerals are available.
Alweendo stressed that more invest in a comprehensive geological mapping should be encouraged.
“Without an improved geological mapping, it will rather be difficult to attract investment for mineral exploration. Fortunately the emerging geological mapping technology has made it possible to obtain accurate mineral resource assessment,” Alweendo said.
Furthermore, he added that the mining sector will continue to be an important contributor to the economy, but only if new mines are discovered. “This is so because given the non-renewable nature of minerals, the existing mines will come to a closure,” he said.