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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Violins (not violence) to shatter the silenceViolins (not violence) to shatter the silence Justicia Shipena

    I’ve been one of those girls who go to parties that bump aggressive, derogatory music and I sing along. I’ve been silenced by sexist comments on the rare occasion when people bring up sexual assault. I know I am not alone and I think it’s time we stopped, but how am I to forgive myself for doing nothing in the face of trauma, and is silence not an act violence too? These silenced occasions are the reason we as girls don’t stand up. Of course we want to stand up, but if we do, whose coffee table silence will these boys rest their feet on? What if someone takes our spot while we stand? What if everyone notices we have been sitting this whole time?

    It thrives in the environment we have created, where it slinks around corners at parties and hides in the shadows in parking lots. As children, women are taught to be scared, but you never know exactly what it is you are running from.

    Pay attention to your surroundings. Watch your drink. Never walk alone. Carry pepper spray. Be polite to the guy that calls you a b***h, because you didn’t say “thank you” following his catcall. Walk to your car with your keys between your knuckles. Make sure no one follows you are home. None of these things prevent sexual assault, but rather than our culture fixing the issue, girls are taught that they have the ability to prevent it from happening.

    The silence that surrounds sexual assault enables it to continue. It is estimated that one in three women are survivors of sexual violence, as well as one in six males. At school, on university premises and the streets, you walk right by these people, completely oblivious. As young individuals, we need to take responsibility for our silence. No one is talking about it and I think it’s time we did.

    The neutrality associated with Namibia’s dominant male culture fuels sexism with the common belief that ‘boys will be boys’. This attempt to rationalise brutish acts is a symptom of a much larger problem: The abhorrent minimisation and normalisation of rape in our society.

    A girl once told me about when she was drugged during her first year of university, she was blindsided. She had done everything right, and yet, it still happened to her.

    My fake sense of control and safety was ripped out from under me, and I was forced to understand that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.

    I was the one who said this happens to other people, but never me or someone I know. Don’t be that person. This affects everyone.

    Pay attention to your body. Know that it isn’t normal after your first or second drink to go from being completely sober to out of control in what seems like five minutes. Don’t stay quiet. Find your friends. Don’t be ashamed to call out for help.

    As a journalist I am expected to network with various people, and in this vein, a young girl I spoke to after a gender-based violence event said she once forgave a predator because she was afraid to start drama in their friendship group. Two weeks later he assaulted someone else; to date she is still carrying the guilt.

    As a woman, you are taught from a young age that it’s on you. Only you can prevent this from happening to you and if you don’t, then you did something wrong. But why can’t we teach our boys not to do it?

    We are too focused on the girl child and we forget to educate the boy child on this issue. It is always about teaching girls how not to get raped, but we don’t teach boys to not rape. I think sexual consent is something we are still struggling to understand.

    Another girl spoke of how she was catcalled by a man in a mall and no one around her said anything, so she didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to make a scene.

    “I still wake up in hot sweats haunted by images of the hurt of girls he assaulted after I didn’t report it,” she said.

    It's been said that the experience of reporting sexual assault can be just as, if not more traumatising, than what the person just went through. In some regard this rings true and there is a reason that many cases go unreported. The amount of slut-shaming and humiliation that follows is enough to shatter the remaining self-dignity of any survivor.

    In other words, the person that committed this unthinkable act is still out there, free to harm whomever they please.

    Our justice system doesn’t always take these cases of ‘minor’ rape cases seriously. The police seem uninterested in solving these crimes, leaving many questions unanswered and survivors without any peace of mind.

    We, as females, accept the state of constant fear as just another component of being a girl. We text each other when we get home safely and it does not occur to us that not all of our guy friends have to do the same.

    We are surrounded by boys who hang up naked posters and fantasise about choking us, and gleefully watch movies in which women get murdered.

    We are the daughters of men who pointed at the news and the missing girls. They begged us to be careful, to be safe. Then told our brothers to go out and play.

    I conclude by saying: Let us not take away someone’s freedom in their own skin.

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: The politics of spite
  • The politics of spiteThe politics of spite It is disturbing to read that the Rundu town council still does not have a functioning management committee, amid the much-publicised Swapo infighting at the northern town.

    The unfolding drama is linked to the defiance of a Swapo directive, which was against the election of Isak Kandingu as mayor and Toini Hausiku as deputy mayor. The two had replaced Verna Sinimbo and Ralph Ihemba, whom the ruling party wanted to retain as mayor and deputy mayor, respectively, for another year. During the office-bearers' elections in February, the councillors went ahead and elected Anastacia Shinduvi and Matheus Wakudumo to the management committee. However, a third member of the committee is yet to be elected, as both Sinimbo and Ihemba are said to have declined their nominations, seemingly out of spite for not being re-elected into their old positions. The impasse at Rundu has literally brought the council to a standstill, and no budget has been tabled as yet, because of the incomplete management committee.

    This committee also plays a crucial role in scrutinising administrative affairs. The two councillors have shown a total disregard for the cooperation required to have a complete management committee, and this has impacted service delivery. It is interesting that Swapo SG Sophia Shaningwa is tight-lipped on the matter, considering her ferocious attempts to ensure that both Sinimbo and Ihemba were retained. When the two councillors served as mayor and deputy mayor, there was no boycotting of council elections, nor was there a prolonged election process for the management committee. Yes, they are within their rights to decline or accept a nomination. However, it has become absolutely essential that an amicable solution is found to this disconcerting impasse. It is clear that the two councillors are putting their personal interests ahead of the people of Rundu and their tactics should be condemned. If the two councillors are not comfortable working with their colleagues, they should do the honourable thing and step down, so others can take over. They are not irreplaceable.

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: Son shoots mom with arrow
  • Son shoots mom with arrowSon shoots mom with arrowVictim beaten, kicked and shot Violent assaults and road deaths marred the past weekend. A 45-year-old woman was beaten, kicked and shot with a bow and arrow this weekend.

    The incident took place on Friday at the Omeyatahekele cuca shops in the Epembe constituency of the Ohangwena Region.

    According to the police the woman's son allegedly assaulted her. The suspect has not been arrested yet.

    On Saturday, a 28-year-old man sustained serious head injuries when he was hacked with an axe at Swakopmund's DRC informal settlement.

    The victim allegedly failed to pay back N$4 200 that he owed to the suspect, a 46-year-old man. As a result the suspect went to the victim's house and took a generator belonging to him. A fight ensued, during which the victim was hacked with an axe. He was transferred from the Swakopmund State Hospital to the Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek. The suspect was arrested.

    In another incident on Saturday, a 19-year-old woman was raped at Koës. The suspect, a 27-year-old man, has been arrested.

    In Khomasdal, a 37-year-old man was shot in both legs at a bar on Saturday.

    According to the police the victim and a friend had gone to the bar to buy cigarettes. Another man who was at the bar went into a house and returned with a gun. The victim's friend fled when he saw the man with the gun, but the victim remained standing.

    The 33-year-old suspect shot him twice, hitting him in the legs. The suspect was detained for questioning.

    A car crash on the B2 road between Karibib and Okahandja claimed the life of a 57-year-old man, while a nine-year-old girl sustained serious injuries.

    It is alleged that the driver, Francis Kawana, lost control over the vehicle and it veered off the road, crashed into the barrier of a bridge and overturned.

    Two people were killed and another was seriously injured in an accident just outside Windhoek on Sunday. The Polo GTS overturned on the B1 road between Windhoek and Rehoboth. The deceased were identified as Maeve-Rick Karl Gilley (25) and a man identified only as Romeo.

    On Friday, a woman was killed when a car overturned on the main road between Rosh Pinah and the Tutungeni location. Another passenger was slightly injured, while the driver sustained serious injuries and was transferred to Lüderitz State Hospital. The deceased was identified as Hanna Gideon.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    A leap towards greater heights A leap towards greater heights Youngest PhD holder makes history At just 26 years old, Mohammed Shehu has made history as the youngest student at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) to attain a PhD. Justicia Shipena



    Mohammed Shehu, a young Nigerian-born national, toured the African continent before arriving in Namibia, having previously lived in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana.

    Shehu graduated from Nust on 26 April with a PhD in informatics.

    After finishing high school at the age of 16, he went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Botswana in 2013.

    He then moved to Namibia to commence a master’s degree in informatics at Nust, which he attained on 29 April 2016. Just 24 hours later, he was rocking the stage as one of the hosts of the 2016 Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs).

    During his master’s studies he lectured various courses at the university’s faculty of computing and informatics.

    Many of his former students shared the stage with him during the just-ended graduation ceremony, and it was a moment of pride for the newly-minted doctor.

    While studying he got involved in radio broadcasting at Nust FM, a vocation that would see him hone his trademark voice for broadcasting, narrations and voiceovers.

    Having made a name for himself as a prolific photographer, he co-founded his design, media and advertising agency, Mo Shé Media, in 2016.

    He has done various work for brands such as FNB, MTC, the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and the award-winning advertising agency, Advantage Y&R Namibia.

    His passion for PR saw him take on the mantle of vice-president of public relations for the Seagulls Toastmasters in Windhoek. As a skilled digital, media and advertising professional, he wields experience in the telecom, finance, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and beverages sectors.

    Speaking to The Zone, Shehu credited his decision to study informatics to a deep interest in understanding data, and how it can be used to make better decisions that impact businesses and society.

    “Businesses, careers and innovative breakthroughs all come from leveraging certain insights to create something new,” he said. “Accessing, understanding and leveraging data for positive gain is something African societies need to emphasise more.”

    His dissertation focused on the application of social media analytics to business intelligence in Namibia, which was motivated by his passion for entrepreneurship. “There was very little research being done locally on social media analytics when I started my PhD,” he said.

    “I wanted to put social media on the radar of three groups - young students considering career choices, entrepreneurs trying to build brands on social media and established organisations trying to extract more value from their social media efforts.”

    Shehu explained he will use his doctorate to help build better brands from a social media and design perspective.

    He urged anyone starting a brand or social movement to explore how social media could help boost their visibility and cement them as preferred service providers.

    “Always focus on the end-user and never, ever compromise on good design, whether in your marketing, product development or service delivery,” he stressed.

    He added that it is very easy to damage a brand on social media through poor strategy, unprofessionalism or limited knowledge. “The name of the game is value, and if you give none, you’ll get none back.”

    He further urged anyone embarking on a doctorate to seek out mentors who have completed the path, as they would be able to relate to the trials and tribulations of the journey.

    “It takes someone who has been through it to be able to relate to the emotional and academic rollercoaster you’ll face. For me, that person was my dad, a university professor,” he said.

    Shehu now plans to branch into the field of law, while seeking to better understand legal contracts and subsequently help SMEs conduct business more confidently with customers, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders. He is currently exploring available opportunities, programmes and scholarships within that space. He can be reached on all his social media platforms (@shehuphd).

    Facts about Shehu

    He is the owner of Mo Shé Media.

    He was a radio presenter at Nust FM from 2015 until 2016.

    He has lived and worked in five different countries so far: Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia.

    He speaks four languages (English, Setswana, Swahili and Afrikaans).

    His research was supervised by Dr Nobert Jere of Walter Sisulu University, South Africa

    He loves reading, writing, publishing, design and photography.

    His social media handle is @shehuphd across all platforms.

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: Red Line to steadily fall
  • Red Line to steadily fallRed Line to steadily fall The agricultural ministry plans to start with the process of gradually removing the veterinary cordon fence (VCF) or Red Line during the current financial year.

    This is in line with the implementation of the second national land conference resolutions.

    According to a technical paper by the ministry, which was submitted to parliament along with the ministry's budget motivation, the implementation will include the incorporation of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) low-risk areas in FMD-free zones.

    The ministry said further that semi-commercial units will be incorporated into FMD-free zones, including in Karikubis, Kavango, Mangetti East, Tsumkwe-Otjozondjupa, Mangetti West, Oshikoto, Ombuga-Oshana, Omutambo Maowe, Omusati and Sesfontein-Kunene.

    The ministry also plans to start with the movement and marketing of beef from areas that are not FMD-free to areas free from the disease, through commodity-based trade. According to the ministry, the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) will continue to implement the policy aimed at creating conditions that will allow farmers in the Northern Communal Area (NCA) to access local, regional and international markets for their animals and animal products during the current financial year.





    The ministry said its planned activities will continue with the strategy and implementation plan to construct a VCF on the Namibia/Angola border in an effort to eradicate FMD.

    It also plans to establish a transboundary animal disease-free zone, which will include Namibia and parts of Angola, among others.

    According to the ministry, mass vaccinations against diseases such as FMD, lung sickness and rabies were also carried out during the 2018/19 financial year.

    A total of 416 688 cattle were vaccinated against FMD in Namibia.

    The FMD vaccinations were carried out in the infected zone and high-risk areas of the protected zone.

    Furthermore, 967 598 cattle were vaccinated against lung sickness in the NCA.

    The ministry said 2 940 community visits were also conducted in the NCA and 563 communities were visited south of the Red Line, while 2 216 farms were inspected last year.

    An additional 159 534 cattle were also tagged in the NCA.

    Meanwhile, following the launch of a rabies control pilot project during March 2016 in the Oshana Region, the initiative has now been rolled out to all eight regions in the NCA.

    According to the ministry a training programme for vaccination teams has been developed and implemented. The 49 vaccination teams, comprising 417 people, have been trained in the logistics surrounding the campaign, dog-handling for vaccination best practice and data collection.

    A total of 73 639 dogs and 8 024 cats were vaccinated against rabies in the NCA last year. The project has seen a major improvement in pet vaccination coverage and a decline in rabies cases.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Bail denied in Chinese murder caseBail denied in Chinese murder case The 27-year-old man, who allegedly murdered a Chinese national last week, was denied bail in the Rehoboth Magistrate's Court yesterday.

    Tuhafeni Thomas appeared before Magistrate Desmond Beukes, who postponed the matter until 23 May for legal aid.

    Thomas was denied bail and will remain in police custody.

    He was arrested over the weekend in connection with the murder of a 34-year-old Chinese man in Rehoboth.

    According to the police, Sun Yanhui was murdered on Wednesday afternoon at the New Hope Investment CC premises in Rehoboth.





    The police said the deceased, who was the manager at the brick factory, was overpowered and attacked with a sharp object.

    His body was found lying in a pool of blood with his throat slit. Both hands were tied behind his back and a cloth was stuffed in his mouth.

    The body was discovered between 20:00 and 20:30 on Wednesday.

    Thomas was arrested on Friday in connection with the murder.

    The prosecutor in the matter is Zibiho Hillia Munzenze.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: Trees still being looted
  • Trees still being lootedTrees still being lootedAngry citizens to stage march The forestry ministry says any person found in possession of logs must be reported to its offices. Sources in Kavango East claim that Chinese national Hou Xue Cheng continues to log and transport timber from the area despite the suspension of harvesting and transporting licences.

    Businessman Pieter Pienaar, who operates the Kavango Dune Camp near Tjeye village outside Rundu, photographed one of Hou's yellow trucks loaded with timber in the Ncaute area last Tuesday morning.

    These pictures were posted on Facebook and were widely circulated.

    “It is very clear the timber was recently cut. This particular truck must have broken down because the locals say they usually drive out during the evenings,” Pienaar said yesterday.

    Pienaar said according to local people the timber was cut around the villages of Vikota and Nhoma.

    “The tracks of the front-end loaders are still very fresh and visible,” Pienaar said.

    “At night you can still hear how the lorries rattle along on the roads. During the day you can hear the chainsaws in the forest. Our forests are being destroyed but it feels like you hit a brick wall because this does not stop.”

    A source close to Hou also confirmed that the logging and transporting of timber was continuing.





    According to this source, who preferred to remain anonymous, four of Hou's trucks loaded with timber were impounded at Katima Mulilo over the Easter weekend.

    The source said there was growing resentment among Hou's drivers because at least two of them had been arrested for driving overloaded trucks carrying timber, presumably from Zambia.

    They appeared before a Katima Mulilo court on 29 April and their next hearing is scheduled for 29 May.



    Denial

    Hou last Friday emphatically denied any knowledge of the photographed truck.

    When confronted with pictures, Hou's initial response was: “What does a picture say? Can you confirm the time and place of the driver?”

    Asked whether he had the requisite permits to log and transport the timber, Hou responded: “Your question is childish. Do you think there will be no permit for cutting wood? And you don't have the right to ask.”

    About the yellow truck, he said: “I don't know. Mine are all new trucks.”

    He later said the photographs had nothing to do with him, adding: “If you think it's illegal, you can report [it] to the forest department.”

    Still later, Hou said he was “busy with other business now,” adding: “Timber shipments have been suspended for a long time.”



    'Will be dealt with'

    The executive director of the ministry of agriculture, water and forestry, Percy Misika, on Friday said the ministry had not received a report on this “unlawful incident”.

    Misika said the ministry had not issued any permit allowing timber to be transported since 31 March.

    “When we come across someone transporting wood, that person will be dealt with accordingly. Any person found in possession of logs must be reported directly to our offices, either in the regions or at head office,” Misika said.

    Asked why the ministry did not send its forestry inspectors out to see what was happening on the ground, Misika said the inspectors do travel “from time to time” to conduct investigations.

    “But it's not easy to be at all places at all times,” Misika said.

    Misika said the ministry nonetheless continues to carry out regular inspections and inform the law-enforcement agencies to stop all timber trucks.



    Protest march

    The Namibian Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS) has called on all concerned citizens to take part in a protest march against illegal logging on Saturday, 11 May, starting at 09:00 at the Zoo Park in Windhoek.

    NEWS said the march is to protest against the exploitation of Namibia's forests by illegal loggers in the Zambezi and Kavango regions.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    McCallum ends a lifetime of miningMcCallum ends a lifetime of miningHaving set Husab up for greatness, Percy calls it quits After more than 30 years in the industry, respected mining veteran Percy McCallum is set to retire. Percy McCallum, vice-president of human resources at Husab: “There has not been one dull moment.” Augetto Graig

    Percy McCallum has announced his retirement, effective from 21 June 2019.

    The vice-president of human resources and business support at Swakop Uranium’s massive Husab uranium mine will say his farewells after 30 years in the mining industry.

    “Mining is in my blood,” he said.

    About his time in the industry he said: “There has not been one dull moment.”

    “I am very passionate about mining and people. It is more than 30 years now and I have had the most enjoyable time, both globally and nationally. Now that the mine has been built, it is time to move on.

    “I have not actually thought about what’s next; the mine keeps me so busy. Definitely I will be doing something, there are still opportunities,” he said.

    He will continue is his chairmanship of the Namibian Uranium Association (NUA).

    The organisation serves the interests of the various uranium mines in the country, as well as those of specialised prospectors and exploration companies.

    It also serves as a watchdog to ensure adherence to stringent, applicable international standards for the industry.

    McCallum says another responsibility is the protection of the image of the industry.

    When not protecting the reputation of uranium miners, McCallum intends to catch up on his fishing.

    He has previously landed a 48-centimetre galjoen, known locally as a ‘botterkop’ for its fatness.

    Spending time with his kids at the gym or watching cricket, soccer or rugby is also high on his agenda.

    McCallum is a son of the south, having schooled at Suiderlig High School in Keetmanshoop, before attending the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa. He also did stints at Wits and Stellenbosch University.

    Shortly after graduating, he started working for Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM), which later transformed into the public-private partnership between the Namibian government and mining giant De Beers, known today as Namdeb.

    He started as a graduate trainee and eventually worked himself up through the ranks to become the group human resource manager for both Namdeb and the partnership between Namibia and De Beers Marine, which became known as Debmarine Namibia.

    From there he was head-hunted by international miner, Rio Tinto, where his exposure to the rest of the world really started.

    With Rio Tinto, McCallum spent some five years in South Africa before travelling to Botswana and Tanzania to look after the group’s Africa interests. He was also exposed to working on mines in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, before returning to the Land of the Brave.

    About six years ago, McCallum embarked on his biggest project yet - Husab - which would become his legacy to mining in Namibia.

    “Building this mine has been an experience,” he said.

    Swakop Uranium’s massive Husab mine is for McCallum the culmination of a lifetime of work and a great source of personal pride.

    “This is a true investment. When we completed the building of the mine we started on the recruitment policies and procedures, as well as the salary grading systems.

    “It took time but now it is all in place, and approved,” he said.

    The time it took to complete the employment structure caused some consternation, and particularly the unions have taken issue with McCallum in the past.

    In 2017, in particular, members of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) crowded his on-site office with placards, while shouting: “Down Percy, down.”

    McCallum confronted the situation with his usual aplomb and received the petition in person, albeit accompanied by the police.

    “I have years of experience with the unions in a variety of countries and I knew it was my duty to receive their demands. We have since started building a very good relationship,” he said.

    “I knew they had a point, so I went to listen and see what they had to say. In the end it was no obstacle,” he said.

    At Husab, McCallum has instituted a veritable pipeline of talent for the future of the Namibia’s mining industry.

    In particular, women are being groomed to fill future management positions - an initiative which he says is high on the recruitment agenda of the mine.

    The intake of graduates is regulated to 50/50 males and females, feeding this leadership pipeline for the future, he said.

    “Swakop Uranium is a Namibian company which operates under Namibian laws and in line with the customs and beliefs of Namibia,” he insisted. “This is a big mine and it has a big impact on employment in the Erongo Region, although we recruit from all over the country.”

    Currently 96% of more than 1 650 mineworkers at Husab are Namibians. He describes Husab as a huge job-creation development, which is of real help to the government’s efforts to alleviate unemployment.

    “In Namibia, Namibians are often of outstandingly good-quality people, who can talk with the world and its mining leadership,” he said.

    His advice to young Namibians considering a career in mining is to work hard and qualify as top students at their graduations.

    “Then come and learn how a mine works and how the processes work, in order to improve on them. Remain focused on making successes and getting seen. Keep calm and don’t stumble to the sides, but walk the straight and narrow,” he said.

    Hard work, good values, respect, loyalty, discipline and making contributions towards the success of the project are key, he said.

    “The mining industry will develop you and the opportunities are here. Just grab them.”

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: Jobs provider to thousands
  • Jobs provider to thousandsJobs provider to thousands Jo-Maré Duddy – The mining and quarrying sector last year provided jobs to 12 087 people or nearly 1.7% of Namibia’s total working population.

    This is a deterioration from 2016 when the sector employed nearly 2.2% of the working population, data from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) shows.

    Of the more than 12 000 people employed last year, 9 943 or 82% were men. The sector provided jobs to 2 144 women.

    According to the Namibia Labour Force Survey 2018, there were 348 employers in the mining and quarrying sector last year. Employees totalled 10 868, while 202 people were self-employed.

    The average monthly wage in the sector was N$17 963, making it the second best-paid industry to work in. Compared to 2016, the mean monthly wage was N$3 611 or 25% higher.

    A total of 4 516 people were youth aged 15 to 34 – 3 673 men and 843 women. This is 3 102 or nearly 41% less than 2016.

    Men’s average monthly wage last year was N$18 315, N$2 379 or 15% more than that of women.

    Nearly 75% or 9 034 of employees were entitled to paid leave, while nearly 74% or 8 931 received paid sick leave.

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    Stellar growth year for miningStellar growth year for miningDiamonds shine At constant 2010 prices, adjusted for inflation, mining last year contributed nearly N$12.4 billion to Namibia’s GDP. Jo-Maré Duddy – Mining and quarrying in 2018 had its best year since 2012 and boasted with annual growth of 22%.

    At current prices, the sector pumped nearly N$27 billion into the economy, contributing 14% to Namibia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018.

    Diamonds delivered a shining performance, contributing some N$18.2 billion. Metal ores contributed about N$4.7 billion, followed by uranium with nearly N$2.9 billion. Other mining and quarrying contributed about N$1.2 billion.

    At constant 2010 prices, adjusted for inflation, mining last year contributed nearly N$12.4 billion to Namibia’s GDP of around N$108.9 billion.

    Annual growth was significantly up from the 13.3% of 2017, according to the latest preliminary national accounts released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

    The performance in the sector is attributed to diamond, uranium and other mining and quarrying subsectors that recorded strong growth of 13.7%, 64.8% and 54.1% respectively, the NSA said.

    In 2018, diamond subsector real value added increased by 13.5%, compared to 12% recorded in 2017. The increase in the diamond subsector was due to high volume of carats produced in 2018.

    Despite low demand and depressed uranium price, uranium subsector is estimated to have registered a robust growth in real value added of 64.8% in 2018, compared to 23.4% recorded in 2017, the NSA said.

    “This performance was reflected in the increase in the production volume of uranium due additional mine [Husab] reaching its full potential,” the agency said.

    Other subsectors

    Other mining and quarrying subsector registered a strong growth of 54.1% in real value added compared to 7.6% registered in 2017.

    “The performance of the subsector is attributed to increase activities in mineral exploration and the production of marble and salt during the period of 2018,” the NSA said.

    The metal ores subsector registered flat growth in real value added in 2018 compared to a growth of 11.8% registered in 2017.

    “This performance in the subsector is attributed to gold that recorded a decline of 14% in real value added, compared to a growth of 8.6% recorded last year 2017. The poor performance in gold, was due reduction in volume produced during the period under review,” according to the NSA.

    The NSA’s figures show that investment, or gross fixed capital formation, in the mining sector has been declining since its peak of N$17.7 billion in 2014.

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: Jobs provider to thousands
  • Jobs provider to thousandsJobs provider to thousands Jo-Maré Duddy – The mining and quarrying sector last year provided jobs to 12 087 people or nearly 1.7% of Namibia’s total working population.

    This is a deterioration from 2016 when the sector employed nearly 2.2% of the working population, data from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) shows.

    Of the more than 12 000 people employed last year, 9 943 or 82% were men. The sector provided jobs to 2 144 women.

    According to the Namibia Labour Force Survey 2018, there were 348 employers in the mining and quarrying sector last year. Employees totalled 10 868, while 202 people were self-employed.

    The average monthly wage in the sector was N$17 963, making it the second best-paid industry to work in. Compared to 2016, the mean monthly wage was N$3 611 or 25% higher.

    A total of 4 516 people were youth aged 15 to 34 – 3 673 men and 843 women. This is 3 102 or nearly 41% less than 2016.

    Men’s average monthly wage last year was N$18 315, N$2 379 or 15% more than that of women.

    Nearly 75% or 9 034 of employees were entitled to paid leave, while nearly 74% or 8 931 received paid sick leave.

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    50 years of the Chamber of Mines50 years of the Chamber of MinesAnnual Mining Expo around the corner The Namibian mining industry organisation is making strides towards African integration. Veston Malango, chief executive officer, Chamber of Mines of Namibia: “The industry fully supported the young republic after independence in 1990 and remains dedicated to promoting Namibia as the prime mining destination in Africa.” AUGETTO GRAIG

    On Thursday, 9 May 2019 the Chamber of Mines of Namibia will celebrate its 50th anniversary. This year marks the golden jubilee of an organisation that has been instrumental in promoting economic resilience and success in the country.

    In 2018 the mining industry was the best-performing sector of the local economy. Fifty years of excellence and dedication have resulted in an adaptive, inclusive and progressive mining industry.

    It was on a Friday in 1969 that the inaugural meeting of 19 mining and exploration companies took place at the Grand Hotel in Windhoek. There the Association of Mining Companies of South West Africa was born, complete with a constitution and rules of association. After a secret ballot six companies were elected to the association’s council.

    The first president of the association, the late Jim Ratledge of the Tsumeb Corporation, was assisted by Des Mathews as both secretary and treasurer. Mathews, along with Jorn Berning and the first minister of mines after independence, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, were later recognised as honorary life members of the chamber. In the early years, only four of the 19 companies present at the meeting were active.

    Today more than 100 companies are listed as active members in different categories. The legendary Steve Galloway is currently listed as the honorary life member of the chamber.

    The first full-time secretary was Bill Bailie, appointed in February 1979. The next month, a revised constitution was adopted at a special meeting of the association, which transformed the association into the Chamber of Mines of South West Africa/Namibia.

    The transformation was completed at a council meeting in January 1990 when the name was officially changed to the Chamber of Mines of Namibia. The chamber’s council acts as its board of directors, while committees have been formed to deal with relevant issues in areas of special interest.

    Because of the importance placed on the safety of mine workers, a labour committee and safety committee have been established. Members of the safety committee have, for instance, been involved in drafting new mine health and safety regulations, and also run the regular inter-mine safety competition. Other committees include the labour committee, the environmental committee and the prospecting committee.

    Although the Chamber of Mines of Namibia concentrates on local miners, it supports moves towards regional development and became a founding member of the SADC chamber of mines initiative known as MIASA (Mining Industry Associations of Southern Africa).

    Local chamber CEO Veston Malango was present at the launch of the Association of Chambers of Mines and other Mining Associations (ACMMAA) in Johannesburg in October last year. He served as technical advisor to the interim committee tasked with drafting the constitution, and was also elected to serve on the executive to run the organisation for the first two years.

    According to Malango the Namibian mining chamber has made an immense contribution to the Namibian economy over the past five decades.

    “The industry fully supported the young republic after independence in 1990 and remains dedicated to promoting Namibia as the prime mining destination in Africa,” he said at the recent announcement of the upcoming mining expo in May.

    He emphasised the value of close cooperation with and support from the government to successful mining in Namibia.

    “We have always strived to reconcile the interests of miners, workers and the economy at large though an open dialogue with our Namibian leaders,” he said.

    This has earned the Namibian chamber recognition in Africa, he said. The local chamber is often approached for advice by counterparts in other African countries when tensions mount between governments and mining companies.

    “We have demonstrated that we are not just fair-weather friends. The industry continues to contribute to Namibia’s socio-economic growth, even in challenging times, while the Chamber of Mines plays an active role in shaping a healthy regulatory and policy environment, and through its committees serves as a strong peer-review mechanism for the industry on issues of health and safety, environment, human resources and sustainability,” he said.

    Highlighting the performance of mining in Namibia last year, Malango noted the strong growth rate of 22%.

    “According to these statistics the positive industry growth was driven by production increases of diamonds, and particularly uranium, in comparison with 2017,” he said.

    The Chamber of Mines of Namibia will present its own full report on industry performance at its annual general meeting scheduled for 7 May 2019 at the Windhoek Country Club.

    According to Malango the rebirth of some of Namibia’s older mines is symbolic of resurgence in the industry. AfriTin reopening the Uis tin mine and North River Resources getting the old Namib Lead and Zinc mine running again, both scheduled to enter production this year, tell of the rich history and the promising future of mining in Namibia.

    On the other hand, some mines are approaching the end of their life-of-mine expectations. That emphasises the need for sustainability through the establishment of new mines.

    “It is imperative that Namibia attracts investment into exploration as this will increase the likelihood of new discoveries and the development of new mines,” Malango said.

    Last year’s decision by the minister of mines and energy, Tom Alweendo, to remove additional conditions for the granting of exploration licences is expected to boost investment in exploration.

    “The chamber recognises this as one of its many achievements in the policy space and remains committed to ensuring a favourable policy environment for another fifty years to come,” Malango said.

    “I look forward to celebrating 50 years of excellence with you all at the Mining Expo and Conference.”

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    Mining remains backbone of exportsMining remains backbone of exports Jo-Maré Duddy – More than N$54.1 billion worth of diamonds, gold, uranium, copper and zinc was exported in 2018, about N$16.8 billion or 45% more than 2017.

    Around N$25.6 billion of these were re-exports, according to the 2018 annual trade statistics released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

    As in 2017, exports of mining resources last year accounted for some 58.3% of total exports.

    Precious stones and metals in 2018 remained Namibia’s top export commodity, earning about N$20.5 billion in foreign currency. Compared to 2017, this is a drop of around 1.4%.

    Copper was the second most important export commodity. Copper exports skyrocketed nearly 277% compared to 2017 and totalled about N$20.48 billion. Of this, around N$19.1 billion was re-exports.

    Some N$10.4 billion worth of ores was exported in 2018, up 29% from the previous year.

    Zinc exports dropped by about 9% to around N$2.6 billion.

    China imported nearly N$9.8 billion worth of copper, N$5.96 billion worth of ores and N$311 million worth of zinc.

    Precious stones and metals to the value of nearly N$4.4 billion were exported to South Africa, while N$771 million of zinc was also destined for the neighbouring market.

    Namibia exported copper worth nearly N$7.2 billion to Belgium. Precious stones and metals to the tune of nearly N$1.4 billion also landed in the country, as did ores worth N$222 million and zinc of N$147 million.

    About N$8.7 billion worth of diamonds was exported to Botswana.

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: Bringing life back to Uis
  • Bringing life back to UisBringing life back to UisGhost town to mine tin again AfriTin is ramping up production at the old Uis tin mine while looking to expand in Damaraland. AUGETTO GRAIG

    London-based investor AfriTin Mining is reviving mining operations at the tin mine that gave birth to the sleepy Damaraland town of Uis. Fresh economic opportunities for the town and the surrounding region bring a welcome injection of hope to a community whose livelihood once depended on tin production.

    International sanctions on South Africa during the years of apartheid restricted trading with the rest of the world and forced the occupiers of then South West Africa to look locally for its mineral requirements. To meet its demand, South Africa’s mining giant Iscor established a tin mine at Uis, which later became one of the biggest tin mines in the world.

    Independence for Namibia coincided with disaster for Uis when the mine was closed in 1991. Besides the lifting of sanctions against South Africa which allowed Namibia’s giant southern neighbour to buy tin in the international market, the global tin market collapsed in 1985 and suppressed prices forced the sudden closure of the mine.

    In the last decade there have been significant improvements in the global tin market. In 2011 the price of tin rose as high as US$33 000 per metric tonne.

    Price increases have been driven by declining tin stocks and legislation passed in Europe restricting the use of lead in electronic soldering. Tin is used more extensively in electronic soldering as a result, pushing up demand.

    Besides its use in soldering applicable to the manufacture of all electronics, tin also has great potential for use in electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries and other emerging technologies.

    By 28 March 2019 the international price of tin was US$21 400 per tonne. In comparison, the price of copper, considered a higher-value mineral, stood at US$6 340 per tonne.

    With the tin market predicted to remain in a supply deficit until at least 2022 and demand fundamentals for tin applications looking robust for the long term, the time has come for tin to become king of Uis again.

    Today it is hard to believe that the sleepy town of Uis at the edge of the Namib Desert was once the hub of a mining boom that boasted the largest hard rock tin mine in the world. The tin mining boom, which lasted longer than half a century, started in 1911 when tin was discovered by a Dr Paul of the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft.

    In 1923, August Stauch, who is also associated with the discovery of diamonds at Kolmanskop, bought the known tin deposits in the Usakos, Karibib, Omaruru and Uis districts and set up Namib Tin Mines Ltd.

    During the Great Depression from 1930 to 1933 no tin was produced, and in 1938 the Uis mine was acquired by German industrial conglomerate Krupp.

    Unfortunately, large-scale development plans for the Uis mine were brought to a standstill with the outbreak of World War II in 1939. After the war the mine was sold to Angus Munro, whose death in a plane crash further delayed the implementation of production plans.

    In 1958, Imkor Tin (Pty) Ltd bought Uis and other properties that belonged to Namib Tin Mines, and installed an extraction plant for tin ore that produced about 35 tonnes an hour.

    In 1966, the South African company enlarged the plant to handle approximately 100 tonnes an hour and built the town of Uis. In early 1980, the extraction plant was again enlarged to process 140 tonnes per hour around the clock.

    The tin boom ended in late 1990 when tin prices collapsed on the global market and the mine's production was drastically slashed, leading to job losses and a reduction in the quality of life of Uis residents.

    Imkor Tin, a subsidiary of Iscor South Africa, closed down the mine in 1991 and Uis became a virtual ghost town overnight.

    Nonetheless, Uis was proclaimed a village in 1996 after Namibia Base Metals (NBM) bought the old mining houses and buildings through businessman Albert Weitz.

    A brickmaking factory and several tourist lodges, bed-and-breakfast establishments and tourist craft markets for those traveling to the Bandberg and environs breathed new life into the town. Tourism operators still take clients up onto the white mine dumps to view the sunset over the Brandberg.

    The tin-bearing sediment at Uis lies in a 32-kilometre-wide belt stretching from Cape Cross at the coast, a distance of 130 km.

    AfriTin’s new project covers three project areas that were all previously operating tin mines. The initial phase of AfriTin’s plan is to develop the Uis mine and construct a processing plant there.

    The new plant is designed to process 500 000 tonnes of ore per year and will produce 65 tonnes of tin concentrate each month.

    The early cash-flow injection expected from this production will help fund a full bankable feasibility study to be completed before commencing with phase two of the development.

    In phase two a much larger plant with processing capacity of three million tonnes of ore per year will be built to produce about 5 500 tonnes of tin concentrate per year.

    Initially this project will create 100 direct jobs for the local community.

    AfriTin is also collaborating with the Small Miners of Uis (SMU) to support small-scale miners in the area. SMU, a not-for-profit organisation, has been given shares in the new venture.

    AfriTin will later evaluate the two additional mining areas nearby and also two further exclusive prospecting licences that it holds in the area. According to the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, AfriTin intends to expand its footprint in the region and on the continent to become the champion of tin mining in Africa.

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    Mining remains backbone of exportsMining remains backbone of exports Jo-Maré Duddy – More than N$54.1 billion worth of diamonds, gold, uranium, copper and zinc was exported in 2018, about N$16.8 billion or 45% more than 2017.

    Around N$25.6 billion of these were re-exports, according to the 2018 annual trade statistics released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

    As in 2017, exports of mining resources last year accounted for some 58.3% of total exports.

    Precious stones and metals in 2018 remained Namibia’s top export commodity, earning about N$20.5 billion in foreign currency. Compared to 2017, this is a drop of around 1.4%.

    Copper was the second most important export commodity. Copper exports skyrocketed nearly 277% compared to 2017 and totalled about N$20.48 billion. Of this, around N$19.1 billion was re-exports.

    Some N$10.4 billion worth of ores was exported in 2018, up 29% from the previous year.

    Zinc exports dropped by about 9% to around N$2.6 billion.

    China imported nearly N$9.8 billion worth of copper, N$5.96 billion worth of ores and N$311 million worth of zinc.

    Precious stones and metals to the value of nearly N$4.4 billion were exported to South Africa, while N$771 million of zinc was also destined for the neighbouring market.

    Namibia exported copper worth nearly N$7.2 billion to Belgium. Precious stones and metals to the tune of nearly N$1.4 billion also landed in the country, as did ores worth N$222 million and zinc of N$147 million.

    About N$8.7 billion worth of diamonds was exported to Botswana.

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    Deblin mine back in productionDeblin mine back in productionYears of neglect erased Underground lead and zinc mine reopens in the Namib Dag Kullmann, managing director of Namib Lead and Zinc: “We might be a small operation, but we have definitely got the attention of the international zinc community.” AUGETTO GRAIG

    A rebirth is in progress in the desert, just 30 km from the town of Swakopmund and 75 km from the harbour at Walvis Bay. The long-abandoned mineshaft at the Deblin mine, tunnelling more than 200 metres below the baking surface sands, has been rehabilitated. The old underground workings, last entered before the mine was closed in 1991, have been reopened.

    After it was abandoned the mine site degenerated into faltering infrastructure, spilt tailings and hazardous materials. In 2009, North River Resources acquired the Namib Lead and Zinc Project and started raising funds for exploration, acquisition of a mining licence, and construction of a new mine at the historic site.

    At the ground-breaking ceremony held in June 2018, Dag Kullmann, managing director of Namib Lead and Zinc, said: “We might be a small operation, but we have definitely got the attention of the international zinc community.”

    North River Resources is a public company based in the United Kingdom, which has already embraced an inclusive ownership strategy encouraging local buy-in to reawaken the mine.

    In early 2017 it established a community trust and an employee trust, each with 5% equity in Namib Lead and Zinc. While the community trust assists local communities, the employee trust will benefit previously disadvantaged employees who earn below a set threshold.

    Funding for construction of the mine, to the tune of US$21 million (N$300 million), was secured from North River’s majority shareholder Greenstone Resources, new partner Castlelake Ventures and another long-time investor. Greensone and Castlelake are both private equity firms and each holds 44% of North River, with the balance owned by over 200 minority shareholders.

    From the beginning the UK-based outfit started rehabilitating the area surrounding the mine while exploration was continuing. Now that the mine construction is completed, production will be ramped up over the course of the year.

    The first-phase production target is to treat 10 000 tonnes of ore per month to produce lead and zinc concentrates destined for local and foreign markets.

    According to a recent report by the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, the mine continues to pursue local value-addition opportunities but initial sales will likely be to foreign customers. The company will produce over 9 000 tonnes of concentrated lead and zinc annually, according to the chamber.

    Early construction focused on site infrastructure, office buildings, operational buildings, workshops, product-handling facilities and wastewater-handling facilities. New mobile mine equipment and plant equipment was procured and set up.

    The site of the previous processing plant was cleared to make way for a new plant, transported from Bond Equipment in South Africa in modular units. The first modular section of the processing plant equipment arrived on site in October last year.

    Namib Lead and Zinc has entered into a supply agreement with NamWater and has replaced the old pipeline while constructing two new water reservoirs on site. Power supply is secured from Erongo RED.

    By the end of 2018 more than N$100 million had been spent on mine development and construction, of N$140 million committed to project development. Total investment is expected to reach N$230 million this year. Most of the money was needed for the crushing and floatation plant, mining equipment and development, as well as site infrastructure.

    With an initial mineral resource estimated at 1.1million tonnes, the life-of-mine is estimated at nine years, but continued exploration may increase this timeframe.

    Fifty-two employees had been signed up at the mine by the end of 2018, 38 of whom were permanently appointed and 14 on fixed-term contracts. This staff includes five students from the Namibia Institute of Mining Technology. Once fully operational, the company plans to have a workforce of 150 employees.

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    Uranium sector to double in sizeUranium sector to double in sizeHusab leads the way Standard Bank Namibia predicts massive growth in uranium production. - Advertorial -

    TULIIKENI NDADI

    The outlook for the mining sector in Namibia for 2019 and beyond, especially the uranium sector, remains fairly bullish with a bolstered uptick in uranium production.

    Increased uranium production is expected to restore Namibia’s position as one of the top three uranium producing countries.

    Standard Bank Namibia is excited to partner with clients operating in this vibrant sector, which is deemed to contribute not only to Namibia’s sustainable socio-economic development, but to the world’s clean energy sector, especially that of Namibian trading partners in China.

    Namibia is currently ranked as the sixth largest producer of uranium, and the mines have reserves that are capable of producing 10% of the global output forecasted to 2035. Uranium production in the country is forecast to rise by 50% year-on-year in 2019, more than double the rate of expansion from last year’s 20%; largely due to the Husab open-pit mine’s production plans.

    Husab mine, located within the Erongo Region of Namibia, is a partnership between Namibia’s only national mining company, Epangelo Mining, with a 10% interest, and Swakop Uranium with a 90% interest, in turn owned by one of the world’s leading clean nuclear energy producers; China’s China General Nuclear Power Corporation and the China–Africa Development Fund.

    The open-pit mine has a production target of full capacity in 2019, with an expected output of 6.8 thousand tonnes (kt) per year, which amounts to more than double of Namibia’s 2017 uranium output of 2.9 kt. With this production output at the Husab open-pit mine, the Namibian uranium output will grow 50% year-on-year in 2019, allowing the country to leapfrog Niger and Australia and become the third-largest producer of uranium after Kazakhstan and Canada.

    The closure of the Australian Ranger uranium mine where since production in the 1980s started, produced over 126 000 tonnes of uranium oxide, and the extended shutdown of the world’s biggest uranium mine, Canada Cameco, coupled with increased investments from Standard Bank Namibia, and the continued government support for the uranium sector, enables Namibia to be positioned as a significant contributor to the global uranium and clean energy sector.

    Additionally, when Husab mine ramps up production and other uranium mines become active, uranium's contribution to the mining sector is expected to be as prominent as diamonds. Diamonds have over the years added well above 7% to GDP and to export earnings, bolstering Namibia’s foreign exchange earnings and reducing the deficit on the nation’s current account.

    Also, the Namibian government recognises the strategic importance of uranium to the overall economy, and therefore plans to remain supportive to the industry as a whole. In doing so, the government has lifted a ten-year moratorium on new applications for uranium mines, and has removed the requirement for companies seeking mining exploration licences to be partly owned and managed by Namibians.

    Such attractive and progressive policies have boosted investments into the mining sector, which rocketed to N$300 million worth of investments in 2017 for exploration. New proposed investments from China General Nuclear -Uranium Resources into their flagship Swakop Uranium Husab Mine and China National Nuclear Corporation with their proposed investment in the Rössing uranium mine are also expected to materialise.

    Additional, a new feasibility study has been conducted by Paladin Energy Limited into restarting Langer Heinrich mine while other exploration activities are being conducted by Marenica Energy. These uranium prospects are anticipated to sustainably drive the medium-term and long term growth of the primary sector alongside the agriculture industry that is also expected to have an uptick from 2019 moving forward.

    This is deemed to maximise the ripple effect of the mining sector and ensure more opportunities for Namibia and its people through direct and indirect positive impacts, especially on employment. Standard Bank Namibia, alongside the Namibian government, is excited about the prospects of the uranium sector as is evidenced by the monumental investments and exploration activities in Namibia.

    Standard Bank Namibia is thrilled to support the development and the growth of the uranium sector in maximising the ripple effect of the mining sector for Namibia and contributing to one of the largest global power generation sectors with clean uranium energy.

    - Tuliikeni Ndadi is a mining engineer with a master’s degree in international mineral resources management with Standard Bank Namibia’s Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division.

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: Rössing atomic performance
  • Rössing atomic performanceRössing atomic performanceElectrifying uranium mining From 1928 to 2019 Rössing Uranium Mine energised Namibian technological development. John Louw, former Rössing board director: “That was the birth of Rössing Uranium Limited: one lonely black stone, not much bigger than a hen's egg.” AUGETTO GRAIG

    Rössing Uranium Mine has a long and distinguished history marking many of the firsts in Namibia’s extensive mining history. Since the early years between 1928 and 1965 when the original prospectors found signs of uranium oxide mineralisation, the company has built on its past to lead Namibia into an atomic future.

    John Louw recently celebrated his 40th year as a Rössing board director in 2012. He is one of the three sons of the geologist Captain Peter Louw, who discovered the first traces of uranium in the Namib Desert, which ultimately led to the establishment of Rössing.

    At the occasion Louw recounted how his parents had turned to prospecting in the difficult time before the Great Depression (1929-1934), looking for radium in the desert near Rössing Mountain. Smallish black stone samples were sent to the Teddington laboratory in Britain for analysis but proved to be of no apparent financial value, he recalled.

    Later, after the USA ended World War II by dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world instantly became aware of the awesome power of uranium.

    Then a student of industrial chemistry, employed in the laboratories of an energy-conscious petroleum company in Cape Town, Louw began to think again about the small black stones he knew as a boy.

    “I understood from the periodic table of elements that uranium could belong to the same family of minerals as radium, and that the presence of radium might well indicate a source of uranium in the area of Swakopmund. Some time later, on a visit to Swakopmund, I discussed my theory with my father and suggested we drive out to the old radium prospecting area of those early years to investigate the possibility of a uranium presence. Somewhat reluctantly he agreed, and early the following morning we set out for what we remembered to be the original site.

    “It was time for a cup of tea, so we sat on the ground in the shade of the vehicle and planned our course of action. We would each take an area to either side of the vehicle and search for small black stones about the size of a hen's egg. This we duly did, and when our canvas bags were full - some 20 stones in each - we returned to the vehicle to find out the truth with the aid of a Geiger counter.

    “We anxiously checked the first bag, small black stone by small black stone, slowly and carefully. Not a single chirp or beep from the Geiger counter. Only silence. Then we checked the second bag; again, deafening silence from the counter ... until, about five stones from the bottom of the bag, the counter took off in wild excitement. That was the birth of Rössing Uranium Limited: one lonely black stone, not much bigger than a hen's egg,” Louw told those in attendance.

    Construction of the Rössing Uranium Mine started with the pouring of concrete for the large mine workshops in July 1974. Over the next two years 30 000 cubic metres of concrete was poured, 2 200 tonnes of steel plate was erected and 15 000 tonnes of mechanical equipment was installed on an isolated spot in the Namib Desert.

    The initial pit development was done between 1974 and 1976 and the pilot plant was constructed. Water supply lines were laid on and a power line was built, destined for Walvis Bay. The town of Arandis took root and houses were added to the Vineta and Tamariskia neighbourhoods in Swakopmund.

    By March 1975 the mine and plant were in operation but encountered setbacks due to the abrasive granite rock containing the uranium minerals. Major alterations and additions to the plant cost N$100 million at the time. By February 1980 the product-recovery section boasted the highest production of uranium over 24 hours to exceed the pervious world record.

    By October 1987 the electrified innovative spirit at Rössing led to installation and operation of the first 10-percent trolley-assist ramp in the world. Since that first 1 200 volt DC trolley-assist system was installed on the ten-percent-gradient haul roads, the mine has operated its 730E Haulpak fleet successfully.

    The immediate benefits of trolley assist are that fully laden trucks accelerate from 11.5 km/h to roughly 17 km/h, shortening the cycle times and increasing the refuelling intervals. Also, engine life is improved as electricity is used to propel the truck, instead of diesel. Lastly, by using electricity, the trade-off between electricity and diesel usage ensures a huge cost saving.

    An assessment in early 2016 indicated that the mine would benefit from fast-tracking the relocation of a section of Trolley 13 line, as the tonnage exiting the open pit via Haulroad 17 compared with Trolley 13 was ten times more. The relocation was completed and in December 2016, the fully tested, commissioned and operational Trolley 17 line was handed over to mining operations.

    In the years since Rössing came to be, it has continued to chalk up significant firsts for Namibia. The mine has hosted visits from historic figures such as heart surgeon Chris Barnard (1982), British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1989), UN Special Representative Martti Ahtisaari (1989), Founding Father Sam Nujoma and Botswana President Dr Quett Masire (1990), as well as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip (1992).

    In 1990 Rössing installed the latest touch-screen technology in its control processing centre and operating station. In 1999 the first of five 182-tonne haultruck pans for Rössing Uranium's new Komatsu Haulpak 730E trucks arrived on site.

    On 25 June 1976, the mine produced its 100 000th tonne of uranium oxide. Rössing celebrated achieving nearly three million lost-time injury-free hours in October 2008.

    Most recently their latest available annual stakeholders report for 2017 illustrates the mine’s commitment to continued improvement. In 2017 Rössing mined 25.2 million tonnes of rock (3% more than in 2016) of which 9.6 million tonnes was uranium-bearing ore (20% more than in 2016) and 15.1 million tonnes was waste rock removed from the pit (0.5 million tonnes was in-pit dumping). A waste-to-ore strip ratio of 1.57 was achieved, which was significantly lower than in 2016.

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  • 05/06/19--16:00: Husab giant still growing
  • Husab giant still growingHusab giant still growingHuge employment opportunity Big, beautiful uranium mine still ramping up production Percy McCallum, Swakop Uranium vice-president of human resources and business support: “I have all the confidence that this mine will be an icon of Namibia.” Augetto Graig

    The immaculate, purpose-built new road winds through the majestic rock formations that characterise the northern end of the legendary Namib-Naukluft National Park. A surreal landscape captivates all along the 22-km approach from the turn-off from the B2, marked by a gigantic rock embossed with the name ‘Husab Mine’.

    Here Swakop Uranium has built one of the biggest open-pit uranium mines in the world, fast becoming the poster child for mining in Namibia. The 12-kilometre-long Husab uranium mine produced over 1 345 tonnes of uranium oxide in 2017. At that stage 150 million tonnes of rock were being moved per year, with 15 million tonnes of ore processed per year, and a 20-year life-of-mine envisioned. Since then they have been ramping up production slowly.

    The Husab mine is one of the most significant direct investments made by China in Africa to date. By 2017 the investment was officially N$3.32 billion. Ownership of the mine is dominated by Taurus Investments, which holds 90% of the shareholding, and is in turn 60% owned by China’s CGN-Uranium Resources Co (CGN) and 40% by China-Africa Development Fund, set up by China Development Bank in 2007. The remaining 10% belongs to the Namibian government’s Epangelo Mining Company.

    The first blasting at the mine started in March 2014, not long before the permanent access road and bridge over the Khan River were completed in May of that year. The ground-breaking ceremony had taken place the previous year, on 18 April 2013, when then President Hifikepunye Pohamba said: “The development and opening of this mine demonstrates that Namibia continues to be an attractive destination for foreign direct investment.” He called the development “one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in Namibia.”

    In May 2015 the first ore was mined and in September that year permanent water supply was secured. The first consignment of crushed rock was ready in July 2016. Since then the state-of-the-art processing plant has been commissioned. On 30 December 2016 the first barrel of export-quality U3O8 rolled off the production line.

    The production facility sprawls from the ore stockpile placed at the start of the production line, which houses the pre-mixed ore concentrate grades delivered from the crusher. From there the ore goes for milling and leaching past the acid plant and tanks. The slurry gets fed through a counter current decantation (CCD) circuit, where the high-grade uranium solution is separated out. From there it goes for adsorption, elution, extraction and scrubbing, stripping, precipitation, washing and thickening, calcination and product packaging before it is ready for marketing.

    Some significant milestones in production achieved last year include the drumming of 559.2 tonnes of U3O8 in August, confirming the monthly nameplate production capacity of the mine and plant. In October 2018 the throughput of the process plant reached a rate of 1 600 tonnes per hour for the first time, and on 13 October the threshold drummed product target of 3 000 tonnes was reached two months ahead of budget.

    Husab enjoys the advantage of having a secured demand thanks to its partnership with CGN, which is one of the top five nuclear power generation companies in the world. In July 2014 CGN Global Uranium Ltd (CGU) was incorporated in the UK to sell Husab uranium on the world market. China General Nuclear had 18 reactors in operation by 2016 with 10 more in construction. Installed capacity in China equalled 19 300 MW, with another 12 436 MW then being built. CGN was already responsible for the supply of 62.7% of China’s electricity capacity thanks to installations like the Hongyanhe Nuclear Base, Yangjiang Nuclear Base, Ningde Nuclear Base, Daya Bay Nuclear Base and the Fangchenggang Nuclear Base, as well as expansions and construction of the Taishan Nuclear Base.

    Husab Mine gets its water from NamWater, which makes use of desalinated seawater from the Erongo Desalination Plant near Wlotzkasbaken, mixed with groundwater from its own boreholes.

    NamPower supplies the mine’s electricity needs. But Swakop Uranium has given notice of its intention to construct an on-site solar photovoltaic power plant at Husab. An environmental impact assessment will be conducted, and an application to amend the mine’s environmental clearance certificate will be submitted to the ministry of environment and tourism.

    The proposed 12 MW solar power plant will be constructed within the mine’s ML 171 concession area, adjacent to the mine’s processing plant. The solar power plant will encompass an area of about 15.5 hectares and will be connected via a 33kV transmission line to the Husab mine substation, about 1.2 km from the proposed site.

    One reason for the mine’s increased electrical demand is the ongoing installation of an electric trolley system, which will provide alternative power to the giant haul trucks that drive tonnes of ore out of the pit 24 hours a day. The trucks are being fitted with a system that will connect to overhead trolley cables supplying electricity to drive their engines.

    This will realise significant fuel savings. Each haul truck uses up a full tank of 5 500 litres of diesel over the three shifts in a 24-hour cycle. Husab has more than twenty of the giant 960E Komatsu ultra-class haul trucks and a growing fleet of Chinese-made NHL haul trucks.

    The giant LeTourneau L-1850 front-end wheel loader is usually employed at the bottom of one of the pits. Three rope shovels, six shovel load trucks and three hydraulic shovels make up the rest of the basis load and haul capacity at the mine. Apart from the smaller bakkies and occasional sedan, roads at the mine also teem with traffic including Komatsu bulldozers, excavators, wheel dozers, graders and water bowsers employed to suppress the dust levels.

    Drilling and blasting operations make use of eight 165-mm mobile drills, four 251-mm drills, and eight MMU (Mobile Manufacturing Unit) trucks to mix and deliver explosive emulsion directly into blast holes, operated by more than 100 trained blasting crew members.

    In the last months the mine has continued to grow and employment has crept up from 1620 in 2017 to 1650, according to the vice-president for human resources and business support, Percy McCallum. He says that figure does not include some 500 independent contractors, 96% of whom are Namibians, who also work on the site. The number of temporary employees stood at 176 at the end of 2017. Husab mine is now the biggest employer in Namibia’s mining sector and has created many jobs to support the government’s fight against unemployment, McCallum says.

    According to him only 36 Chinese employees work at the mine, all highly qualified and experienced. These workers, seconded from nuclear power plants in China, add a lot of value to operations at Husab while providing good skill transfer opportunities, McCallum says. Many are employed in technical advisory roles, while the executive management of the mine is 50% Namibian, 50% foreign, he said. Of the management at Husab, 70% are from previously disadvantaged groups.

    “There is a multicultural environment that we have created here, where Chinese and Namibians feel included and learn from each other’s strong points. The Chinese are very thorough and a lot of time is spent on planning.

    “When they implement, they make sure to cover all the bases. From Namibians the Chinese learn how to operate in an African context. The world is full of cultural differences but through communication we can improve communities. Together we learn how to do it right the first time. I have all the confidence that this mine will be an icon of Namibia,” McCallum says.

    McCallum, who joined Swakop Uranium in 2013 when the company had only 20 employees, is retiring in June. He was responsible for establishing the company’s board-approved internal recruitment policies, procedures and salary grading systems.

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    Sterling diamond relationship Sterling diamond relationship Namibia and De Beers partnership bears fruit Diamond mining in Namibia sets an example for partnership and collaboration. Stella Ipinge, Debmarine spokesperson: “Yes, indeed, we are still pursuing the opportunity of acquiring a new diamond recovery vessel.” AUGETTO GRAIG

    Diamonds are forever and these precious stones have come to symbolise truly lasting relationships worldwide, with the presentation of a diamond wedding ring now common practice. Namibian diamonds are of exceptional gem quality and so it should not be too surprising that the country boasts one of the more unique, long-lasting and lucrative diamond mining relationships in the world.

    The international mining behemoth De Beers and the government of Namibia formalised their partnership in 1994 when the old Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM) transformed into Namdeb. CDM’s presence in Namibia can be traced back as far as 1920 when diamond-mining companies along the Orange River were amalgamated. The first diamond was found in Namibia was by Zacharias Lewala in 1908, and by 1912 extensive mining was taking place around Luderitz, with CDM formed in 1920.

    Before that, Ernest Oppenheimer had registered his company, Anglo American, on 25 September 1917. The end of the First World War brought a golden opportunity: The diamond fields in German South West Africa that would be placed under new ownership following Germany’s defeat. De Beers was interested in the Lüderitz diamond fields, as was Oppenheimer, while German nationals in South West Africa feared for their wealth and shares in their diamond-mining companies.

    The only solution was to establish a merger with South African mining companies after the war ended. In the autumn of 1919 negotiations took place over two weeks in Amsterdam. Out of those negotiations the new company Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM) of South West Africa was born.

    CDM started with capital of 3.75 million British pounds divided into one-pound shares, writes Olga Levinson in her book ‘Diamonds in the Desert’. Only after the contracts were signed on 9 February 1920 in Cape Town, was the identity of the mystery man behind the deal finally revealed: Ernest Oppenheimer of Anglo American. By 1929 he became the chairman of De Beers, with Anglo American a major shareholder.

    Harry Oppenheimer, son of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, joined the De Beers board in 1934, and in 1939 he headed to New York to kick-start De Beers’ pioneering diamond advertising campaign. After World War II, in 1947 Frances Gerety, a young copywriter at the NW Ayer advertising agency, coined the timeless slogan ‘A diamond is forever’. Fifty years later, it is recognised by Ad Age as the greatest advertising slogan of the 20th century.

    Taking over after the death of his father in 1957, Harry Oppenheimer was instrumental in the company’s expansion to Canada in 1960, and later in 1967, a year after it gained independence, to Botswana.

    When Namibia became independent De Beers initiated a similar relationship and in 1995 entered into an agreement for a 50/50 joint venture with the new government, bringing Namdeb into existence. In 2000 this development was followed by the establishment of De Beers Marine Namibia (DebMarine Namibia).

    Namdeb and Debmarine Namibia are the offspring of a partnership of which De Beers’ resident director in Namibia Daniel Kali in 2017 said: “Our 50/50 model of joint ventures in Namibia is without a doubt in the forefront in ensuring government's partnership with a global private-sector leader.

    “Now in its twenty-third year, our partnership is the leading corporate tax contributor to the Namibian treasury, with only SACU revenue surpassing our partnership’s contribution.”

    In 2017 Namdeb paid over corporate taxes of some N$1.92 billion to the Namibian government, as well as N$1.15 billion in royalty taxes, and N$71 million in export levies through its Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) subsidiary. Output of 426 000 carats that year supported the wages and salaries to 1 588 permanent and 70 temporary workers. Only 26 expatriates worked for the company in 2017 while 964 contractors were awarded work opportunities.

    Namdeb spokesperson Shangelao Ndadi is particularly proud of the positive legacy created by the company, and its leadership in empowering Namibian women. Namdeb was the first Namibian company to have a female managing director, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi. Ophelia Netta was the first female appointed to work as mine manager at Namdeb from April 2009 until May 2010. Namdeb first employed a team of 12 Transvac operator women who started in September 1999. Transvac operators work on the bedrock and collect diamondiferous material in accordance to bedrock cleaning operating standards,” she said.

    “Namdeb prides itself on being over 99% Namibianised,” she said, and it takes pride in fostering skills development in support of Namibia’s national plans. “This is evidenced by the number of trained Namdeb professionals within the country,” she said. In 2002 Namdeb became the first organisation in Namibia to provide antiretroviral medicine (ARVs) to employees and extended this support to spouses, life partners and dependants.

    Namdeb has also taken a leading role in protecting the fragile Namibian environment. Its operations are located within the Tsau //Kaeb (Sperrgebiet National Park), adjacent to the Orange River and Namibian Islands Marine Protected Area. Namdeb is involved in numerous conservation monitoring and ecological history programmes, which aim to minimize the potential environmental impact of its operations.

    Namdeb’s environmental management system is aligned with the ISO14001:2015 international standard. Environmental clearances are in place for all Namdeb licence areas. The company conducts Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes. “Considering the unique location of Namdeb’s diamond mining operations and the potential tourism in the area, the integration of bio-diversity stewardship onto the mine’s life cycle from exploration, projects, operations and closure is a critical strategy,” says Ndadi.

    The distinctive biodiversity and archaeological and heritage found within Namdeb’s mining licence areas have resulted in a comprehensive rehabilitation programme which retrospectively addresses the legacy of over 100 years of mining in Tsau//Kaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park. “Namdeb prides itself with a rehabilitation plan that is aligned with the park’s land use plan. This plan makes provision for rehabilitation of areas for mining based, nature based and conservation areas,” she sai.

    Con-current rehabilitation is catered for annually. Backfilling and re-vegetation of plant species of conservation importance takes place at Sendelingsdrif and Obib mines. More than 134 000 tons of scrap has been removed from the company’s licence areas since the inception of a Joint Venture in 2008, she said.

    After a hundred years diamonds found on land are fewer, while the promise of the ocean rings louder. In 2006 Debmarine Namibia production surpasses land based diamond production, under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer Otto Shikongo.

    In 2017 Debmarine Namibia achieved its production target by mining an undersea area of 14.7 square kilometres and delivering 1.378 million carats of diamonds. It employed 906 individuals, of whom 140 were expatriates, while 26 temporary work opportunities were created. Debmarine is at the forefront of the application of new technology, necessitated by its deep-sea mining operations.

    According to Debmarine spokesperson Stella Ipinge, the company is eager to grow its fleet of six specialised diamond exploration and mining ships. “Yes, indeed, we are still pursuing the opportunity of acquiring a new diamond recovery vessel. However the final decision on the way forward is still awaiting board approval. Hopefully by next month we will have more exciting and informative news on this development,” she says.

    According to maritime-executive.com, the new ship could cost around N$2 billion to build and another N$5 billion for mission equipment, including crawler-mounted dredging technology. At 176 metres long, the ship will be slightly larger than the current largest vessel, the incredible Mafuta (174 metres), the site reported.

    “The vessel is intended to be a recovery vessel and will be the seventh in the fleet. It will use crawler technology similar to the current MV Mafuta,” Ipinge says. To date the crawler-mounted dredging technology used on the Mafuta is the best-performing mining tool in Debmarine’s arsenal, delivering more diamonds than more conventional drilling systems, she says. “The Mafuta now contributes up to 40% of total production,” she says.

    In June 2017, Debmarine inaugurated the most technologically advanced marine diamond sampling and exploration vessel in the world, the MV SS Nujoma.

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