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Alweendo proposes N$194M budget for Namibia’s mines and energy

Namibia’s Mines and energy minister, Tom Alweendo, has proposed a N$194.1 million budget for the 2022/23 financial year.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the mining sector contributed 10.1% to the country’s GDP and N$3.9 billion to the fiscus in 2020. The requested amount is to be distributed among six ministerial programmes: the promotion of investment in exploration (N$22.9 million); the creation of knowledge of geological resources (N$49.4 million); the protection of the diamond industry (N$10.4 million); the energy security of supply (N$42.8 million); the petroleum security of supply (N$11.1 million), and the policy coordination and support services (N$57.2 million).

The first programme aims to regulate the mining industry, promote mineral resources potential and attract investors. Through this programme, the ministry embraces innovation to stimulate investment in the mining and energy sectors.

“Investment opportunities lie in green energy solutions for mines and the establishment of a centre of excellence to promote local beneficiation. Finalisation of both the Mining and Diamond Bills remains a priority during the financial year. Furthermore, to enhance transparency and efficient service delivery, the ministry is exploring the introduction of an online mineral rights application system,” said Alweendo.

Mineral potential

Through the second programme, the ministry aims to further enhance the knowledge and understanding of the geological character and mineral potential of the //Karas and Kunene regions. The availability of geoscientific data and information is expected to drive interest and investment into the targeted regions, as it provides the mineral exploration industry with data and knowledge that reduce risk and encourage mineral exploration in these regions. The third programme is mainly dedicated to protecting the country’s diamond resources through sound regulatory oversight.

“We intend to continue intensifying the inspection and monitoring of the diamond value chain activities. In addition, the ministry will honour and review the African Diamond Producers Association, Kimberly process Certification Process and focus on the promotion of the Namibian Diamonds to the international market,” said Alweendo.

The fourth programme is focused on securing a sufficient and reliable supply of sustainable electricity and reducing dependence on imports. Among the activities to be undertaken is the implementation of the Khan 20 MW IPP Solar PV Power Plant, near Usakos, which is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by November 2022.

The ministry also envisages electrifying about 67 rural public institutions, such as schools and clinics, and about 70 households with the N$20.5 million allocated towards the rural electrification program. Through the petroleum security of supply programme, the ministry ensures the security of supply and provides a conducive environment for the exploration of hydrocarbons in the country.

“Given the discovery of light crude oil in the Orange Basin, offshore Namibia, the upstream petroleum activities will be geared towards working closely with the operators (Total and Shell) to carry out further analysis needed to determine the commerciality of the discoveries. Additionally, the ministry will continue to regulate the downstream petroleum industry, especially with the alarming surge in the illegal trade of fuel across the borders which is affecting the retail market in the region,” Alweendo explained.

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