Just like other countries in the region, Namibia is still feeling effects of the economic slowdown, but stellar earnings from precious mineral exports have given the country something to cheer about.
Namibia’s exports of precious minerals generated $23bn (approximately US$2bn) in the 2017/2018 financial year, the Minister of Deputy Mines Minister, Kornelia Shilunga, told the National Assembly yesterday, according to New Era.
Despite efforts to diversify the economy from over reliance on the extraction and processing of minerals for export, the mining sector, which accounts for 12.5% of GDP, still contributes more than 50% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Royalties contributed US$ 109 million to state coffers.
Shilunga highlighted progress made in various mining projects during the 2016/2017 financial year, including the commencement of production by Chinese-owned Husab mine in Erongo Region, B2Gold mine near Otjiwarongo, cooper cathode production at Tschudi mine, the Okanjande graphite project.
Furthermore, the Deputy Minister also said Namibia’s diamond production for the period under review was just over 1.8-million carats.
Shilunga also said that significant progress had been made in diamond beneficiation “Over 240,000 carats of Namdeb run-off mine were offered locally to Namib Desert Diamonds (Pty) Ltd (Namdia) and local sight holders at the value of $360m as compared to USD292 million the previous financial year,” she said.
She said improved monitoring, reporting and stakeholder engagement by the Ministry in driving the beneficiation initiative had resulted in the significant improvement of rough diamonds converted into polishing. As a result of this initiative she revealed that, 54 percent of rough diamonds offered to the local sight holders has been processed locally.