Aupindi against foreign mining right holders

Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration, Tobie Aupindi has opposed the issuing of mineral resources rights to foreigners, who do not have Namibian shareholding interest.

Aupindi made these contributions on Wednesday in Swakopmund during the ongoing oversight Workshop on Maximising the Potentials of the Mining and Energy Sectors in Namibia.

The week-long workshop is assessing the state of mining, energy and oil sectors in Namibia, including their contribution to the country’s economy, employment and sustainable development among others.

“I am aware that there are some mining rights owners of foreign nationality who do not have Namibian shareholding rights in whatever form and that should be completely done away with, and the proposed Bill must make it clear that you simply cannot get a mineral licence in Namibia if you do not have the interest of Namibians who are the owners of these natural resources,” Aupindi noted.

The proposed Bill is providing for Namibians to procure and maintain ownership of not less than 5 per cent of its equity shares in mining companies as may be prescribed by the mining charter.

The proposed provisions area results from a growing public concern that the country is not benefitting equitably from its mineral resources because most mining companies are owned without local participation.

Currently the Act does not prescribe only ownership in either exploration and prospecting licences (EPLs) or mining licences (MLs).

Aupindi has further proposed that it should become illegal to export raw material from Namibia in terms of mineral resources.

“There has been mention of the beneficiation law that is coming, but there must be a transition period in this Act that allows that at a particular date, that Namibia will no longer export its minerals in raw form and it should not just be left to the beneficiation discussions or proposals that are going on here,” he said.

Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo in his keynote address at the opening of the workshop on Monday already noted that raw materials are highly sought after globally and should therefore not be exported in raw form.

“We cannot mine these minerals where they are exported in their basic raw form or where minimal value has been added. We must insist that critical raw materials are not exported without value being added locally and where possible,” Alweendo expressed.

The workshop ends on Friday.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency