Articles on this Page
- 05/06/19--16:00: _Sterling diamond re...
- 05/06/19--16:00: _Desalination plant ...
- 05/06/19--16:00: _Old gold hunt pays off
- 05/06/19--16:00: _Minister’s Foreword,
- 05/06/19--16:00: _50 years of the Cha...
- 05/06/19--16:00: _Dundee takes copper...
- 05/07/19--09:10: _ Woman dies from Co...
- 05/07/19--09:23: _ Rundu acting CEO r...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Fifa still to appro...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Mbidi sues for N$50...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Onkalo yomeya monoo...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Aanafaalama inaya p...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Ellies under the sp...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Thousands benefit f...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Master agronomist c...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Restoring grazing v...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Nevonga, Itope deny...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Drought situation c...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Drugs worth N$5.4m ...
- 05/07/19--16:00: _Proper drought resp...
- 05/06/19--16:00: Sterling diamond relationship
- 05/06/19--16:00: Desalination plant set for growth
- 05/06/19--16:00: Old gold hunt pays off
- 05/06/19--16:00: Minister’s Foreword,
- 05/06/19--16:00: 50 years of the Chamber of Mines
- 05/06/19--16:00: Dundee takes copper into the future
- 05/07/19--09:10: Woman dies from Congo fever, burial underway
- 05/07/19--09:23: Rundu acting CEO resigns
- 05/07/19--16:00: Fifa still to approve NC extension
- 05/07/19--16:00: Mbidi sues for N$500 000
- 05/07/19--16:00: Onkalo yomeya monooli ya nayipala
- 05/07/19--16:00: Aanafaalama inaya pitika iimuna yawo yi nape miilya iitalala
- 05/07/19--16:00: Ellies under the spotlight
- 05/07/19--16:00: Thousands benefit from subsidised inputs
- 05/07/19--16:00: Master agronomist crowned
- 05/07/19--16:00: Restoring grazing values
- 05/07/19--16:00: Nevonga, Itope deny owing Huang
- 05/07/19--16:00: Drought situation critical
- 05/07/19--16:00: Drugs worth N$5.4m seized in April
- 05/07/19--16:00: Proper drought response critical
Stella Ipinge, Debmarine spokesperson: “Yes, indeed, we are still pursuing the opportunity of acquiring a new diamond recovery vessel.”
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.
Water is life in the desert. Although the cold Atlantic Ocean hugs the Namibian coastline for thousands of kilometres, the seawater has not diminished the grip of the Namib on almost a third of the country. All that water, and not a drop to drink. Until now.
As has often been the case in the history of the ‘land of the brave,’ it is again the mining industry which has opened a new chapter in the development of this country. For the first time a large quantity of seawater is being purified at the Erongo Desalination Plant 30 km north of Swakopmund, supplying NamWater with 12 million cubic meters per year in 2017.
The plant belongs to Orano, the international uranium and nuclear energy conglomerate, which changed its name from Areva Resources at the beginning of 2018. Aveng Water, which built the plant for Areva in 2010 to supply the nearby and then burgeoning Trekkopje uranium mine, still operates the state-of-the-art installation. The company has invested heavily in training and process knowledge, which has paid off – the plant is operating smoothly and there has been no major downtime since 2013.
The plant is OHSAS 18001 certified for health and safety standards and has not experienced lost-time injury incidents in years. The plant employs 46 permanent workers.
The Erongo desalination plant is the largest reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant ever built in southern Africa. It can produce up to 20 million cubic metres of water per year, although its capacity is not being fully utilised because Trekkopje has been on care and maintenance since 2012.
In August 2013 Areva signed a supply agreement with NamWater for up to 10 million cubic metres per year for use by other uranium mines in the area, including Rössing, Langer Heinrich and the massive Husab mine. Because of Husab’s appetite the supply was increased to 12 million cubic metres in 2017.
The seawater desalination process begins with screen filtration, followed by ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, limestone contact and, finally, chlorination. The intake of seawater is through a pipeline anchored 1 000 metres off the coast at a water depth of 10 metres. There, a 40-millimetre-diameter screen keeps aquatic plants and animals out of the pipeline.
Production superintendent Lazarus Gariseb says there are two concrete-encased steel pipes, referred to as the northern and southern intake. On land the pumps are buried two storeys down and the initial gravity flow at the distant openings is weak enough to allow fish to swim in and out with relative ease, up to the steel grids with bars 40 cm apart.
A third pipe extends 600 metres into the sea, through which brine is discharged. This waste stream contains more concentrated seawater, which disperses naturally in the ocean. Regular testing ensures that the impact on the local ocean environment remains minimal.
“For every cubic metre we pump in, 72% returns to the sea so the 28% is not a massive change in concentration and has a minimal impact on the environment,” says plant manager Dave Baillie.
“Twice a year divers inspect, repair and clean the metal bars (at the inlets) and scrape the mussels off. Every second year we take samples at the outlets to see if there has been any environmental damage. That happened again just two months ago. We also took test samples to the south to be able to compare, because the current here flows from south to north”
Baillie says the intake was designed with excess capacity and can supply a second desalination plant. “Forward thinking,” is how he describes this provision.
The existing single plant can supply up to 20 million cubic metres of desalinated water per year, which can easily be upgraded to 25 million cubic metres. With the construction of a second plant next door, the supply could be doubled to 50 or even 52 million cubic metres a year, Baillie says. “The supply is driven by demand,” he said.
Baillie admits that the cost of producing desalinated water is definitely higher than extracting groundwater. But pressure on the local aquifer has reduced production from the Omdel network to about 400 cubic metres per hour, whereas the desalination plant supplies 1 500 cubic metres per hour.
“The main cost of production is electricity,” he says. The pump houses on the beach are a kilometre underground and the energy needed to move the water inland and uphill is costly.
From the pump houses the seawater enters the screen building for pre-treatment to rid it of any suspended solids. Five installed rotating drum screens with openings only 60 microns wide work day and night. The building has the capacity to add three more of these screens.
Ultrafiltration takes place through filtration tubes which house 308 membranes each. Forcing the water through openings in the membranes only 0.02 microns wide, the system can remove even bacteria from the water.
The reverse osmosis process is also achieved through the use of hollow tubes with membranes that even dissolved salts cannot pass through, Gariseb explains. Pressure of between 7 200 and 7 300 kilopascal forces the water through the membranes, which recover up to 47% as purified drinkable water, while the rest makes up the excess brine. The Erongo plant is also able to recover some of its energy expenditure through the use of pressure-exchange devices.
After reverse osmosis the water is demineralised, and chlorine is finally used to disinfect the water. Besides supplying the desalinated water to local mines, NamWater mixes it with borehole water to supply the nearby town of Swakopmund.
“We currently have the best technology for the desalination of large volumes of water,” says Baillie. In less than two hours after leaving the sea, the water is transformed into drinkable water and pumped about 5 km inland to join the supply from the Omdel boreholes to the beautiful town of Swakopmund.”
The glowing flagship of Namibia’s gold production is the B2Gold Otjikoto Gold Mine between Otavi and Otjiwarongo, which recorded an output of 5 429 kg of gold bullion and 104 kg of silver in 2017. In the same year, the Navachab open-pit gold mine produced 1 843kg of gold. More recently, B2Gold reported that it produced 4744 kg of gold bullion last year, while it is continuing with exploration at its joint venture with Forsys Metals at Ondundu, just north of the Navachab gold mine.
The first gold discoveries in Namibia were made in 1899. Gold mining began in 1933 but was later abandoned. Today, gold mining is once again at the forefront of Namibian mining ambitions thanks to advances in modern technology, exploration and mining techniques.
According to Namibweb.com, the first gold-bearing quartz veins in Namibia were discovered in the Rehoboth district in Sinclair Sequence volcanogenic host rock. A highly speculative pegging boom took place on the Rehoboth gold fields during 1933 and 1934, and subsequently up to 1941, 199.2 kg of gold was produced from small oxidised and supergene-enriched deposits.
The 1917 discovery of the Ondundu gold field in the Omaruru District marked the first true Namibian “gold rush”. Mining of primarily alluvial deposits and some hard-rock mining produced 614.4 kg of gold until the mine’s closure in 1963.
During the period 1937 to 1943, alluvial gravels were worked in the Epako–Otjua area, Omaruru District, producing some 46.9 kg of gold. The commissioning of the Navachab Gold Mine in the Karibib District in 1989 was the result of an upswing in gold exploration that started in the early 1980s and continues today.
The current production of gold in Namibia dwarfs all previous production years. Up to the 1960s, approximately 662 kg of gold was produced from several small mines. Between 1965 and 1989 an additional 1 878 kg of gold was produced, mostly as by-product from base-metal mines.
Until the discovery of the gold-skarn deposit at Navachab, the only known primary gold mineralisation in Namibia was of the quartz vein type, with limited secondary development of alluvial deposits. Hydrothermal gold quartz veins with associated base metals occur at several localities within the Huab Complex and Khoabendus Group in the northwest of Namibia.
In the geologically similar volcano-sedimentary Sinclair and Rehoboth sequences, supergene enrichment through oxidation of auriferous hydrothermal sulphides has provided grades sufficient to support small-scale mining ventures.
The hydrothermal Ondundu gold deposits are Namibia’s prime example of disseminated gold mineralisation development with tourmalinisation, followed by enrichment within structurally controlled quartz vein systems. The marble-hosted gold-skarn at Navachab is related to multistage mineralisation in the Central Zone of the Damara Sequence.
These two principal styles of gold mineralisation are not the only types present in Namibia, according to the national geological survey. Among others, Nosib Group quartzites east of Sesfontein and near Opuwo contain gold-bearing quartz veins, while Swakop Group rocks host auriferous pegmatites. In addition, several types of base-metal mineralisation carry gold that can be extracted as a by-product. The Otjihase, Tsumeb and Kombat mines are examples of such base-metal ore bodies.
The Navachab gold deposit was discovered as a result of a geochemical exploration programme in October 1984 on the farm Navachab, 6 km south of the main Okahandja-Swakopmund tar road. An appraisal was done in 1986, followed by a feasibility study in 1987, after which a decision was made to proceed with the development of a mine.
Construction work began in 1988 and the first gold bar was poured 21 months later in December 1989, establishing Namibia as one of the world’s gold-producing countries. The mine was completed at a capital cost of N$85 million. The plant was commissioned in November, with full production achieved in January 1990.
The 35-metre-thick ore body is hosted in a thick marble unit. The ore body dips at 70' to the west and plunges at 14' to the north and it was initially mined by open-cast method to a depth of 160 metres.
QKR was established with funds from Qatar and Polish billionaire Jan Kulczyk by former JP Morgan banker Lloyd Pengilly to buy the mine from AngloGold Ashanti in 2014. The estimated life-of-mine expected that year was until 2028.
The Otjikoto gold mine was officially opened in 2015 with an expected life-of-mine of about 12.5 years. More recently established higher grade reserves discovered at the mine’s Wolfshag open pit may push activity at the mine beyond 2027. Production of this ore is expected to resume later this year, after completion of the expansion of the pit.
For 2019, the Otjikoto Mine is forecast to produce between 4677 kg and 4961 kg of gold, primarily from the Otjikoto Pit, although gold production is scheduled to be significantly weighted towards the second half of the year.
Because of the importance of the mining sector, it is no surprise that the Namibian people, who are the real owners of the resources, have a heightened interest in the mining sector. They want to know how the mineral resources are being exploited and utilised. They have a legitimate expectation that the mineral resources be shared equitably.
A common question that is being asked is whether the mining sector can do more for the economy. For example, can the mining sector be leveraged to strengthen the productive capacity of the economy as a whole? Can we not add more value to our minerals before they are exported in raw form? What about the mining industry sourcing locally produced goods and services as inputs in to their mining activities? What about local ownership in the sector and the issue of economic empowerment? These are all important and legitimate questions to be asked.
My general answer to these questions is that yes, indeed, all the above issues can be achieved. Yes, indeed, the mining sector can do more. There is no reason why we should continue to export all our raw minerals in raw forms – some of which can easily be value-added. What is needed is a comprehensive dialogue between all the relevant parties that takes place in an environment of mutual trust; an environment in which the parties recognise their mutual inter-dependency. A dialogue that seeks to discover what is in the best interest of both parties.
When such a dialogue takes place it will be possible for both parties to discover, for example, that a successful value-addition scheme is mutually beneficial to both the investors and the state. You will discover that value-addition and the need to have an enabling investment environment are not mutually exclusive, as some want us to believe. It has been proven that the two can be mutually reinforcing. Value-addition will strengthen the productive capacity of the economy, thereby serving as a catalyst for more investment in the economy. I am happy to note that such a dialogue between the mining industry and the Ministry of Mines and Energy has been intensified and I am hopeful that soon we will come to a mutually agreed outcome.
One important fact that must always be kept in mind is that the mining sector will remain an important contributor to the economy only if we discover more minerals. This is so because given the non-renewable nature of minerals, the existing mines will eventually close. However, for us to discover new minerals and therefore new mines, a number of things have to happen.
The first thing is that we need to have a good understanding of our minerals potential. We need to have a good knowledge of what minerals are available. We need to encourage more investment in comprehensive geological mapping. Without 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.
The second thing is to do everything possible to attract investment, both local and foreign, in mineral exploration. Without exploration no new minerals can be discovered. We also need to be aware of the fact 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 chance of exploration leading to a successful mining operation is 1:1 000 and the lead time can be as long as ten to fifteen years.
In order for us to attract exploration investment, we need to do a number of things. One of the things we need to do is to periodically review our mineral licensing legal framework. This is necessary in order to ensure that we continue to be competitive in attracting investment, both local and foreign. For example, it is not helpful when it takes an inordinately long time for us to finalise the processing of licensing applications. It would be self-defeating if we imposed impractical licensing conditions or if our policies were unpredictable and created policy uncertainties.
Going forward in steering our mining sector to the next level for an enhanced contribution to our socio-economic development and prosperity, let us recognise that in this 21st century things do not necessarily work like they used to. We live in an ever-changing economic and geo-political environment, where there is no sure script for success. However, I would like to believe that as a country we are in a fortunate position because of a strong foundation we were able to build over the years.
What will be required of us is to unleash the creativity and brain power of our people, especially that of the youth. We also need to agree to make ourselves reasonably uncomfortable by venturing into unexplored fields and doing things no one has done before. If we, as a collective, approach our challenges in the Harambee spirit and with creativity, innovation and courage, the mining sector will continue to be an important contributor to socio-economic wellbeing.
Tom K Alweendo, MP
Minister: Mines & Energy
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.”
Evidence from archaeological work at the Matchless mine, about 40 km west of Windhoek, suggests copper smelting was taking place in Namibia some 400 years ago, according to the Environmental Information Service of Namibia. Even long before mining technology was introduced, local people had been smelting copper in anthills, with the aid of charcoal, in the Otavi Mountainland.
In the book ‘Travels in Tropical Africa’, published in 1852 by Sir Francis Galton, he mentions encounters with San and Aawambo communities who were transporting copper ore in the Otavi Mountainland.
More recently Richard Viljoen wrote in ‘Africa’s Top Geological Sites’ that the Otavi Mountainland is an important mineral province covering some 10 000 km² and mining of its copper, lead, zinc and vanadium resources has been an important economic activity in Namibia for hundreds of years. He says about 600 different mineral deposits occur in the area, which featured a 12-metre-high ‘green hill’, a secret kept by the Hai//Om San for centuries.
The hill was almost pure malachite, a bright green mineral consisting of hydrated basic copper carbonate, and represented the outcrop of the subsequently famous Tsumeb ore body. The San would mine the copper and trade it to the Aawambo tribes from the north, who valued the metal very much. Both the Aawambo and the Damara societies learned the art of copper smelting but the secret was guarded jealously.
The Tsumeb ore pipe has been mined going back to prehistoric times but because of the scarcity of water in this area, ore trading took place at the nearby Lake Otjikoto. San people were based in this area and the Aawambo came from the far north to trade copper ore. When the Aawambo arrived, a fire was lit at the Trading Tree to signal to the San that the ore buyers had arrived. According to local history enthusiast Margo Bishop, hand-forged axes, knives, spears, arrowheads, pots, salt and glass beads were spread out beneath the tree and the San then laid out their wares consisting of copper ore, sinew strings and ostrich eggs. Neither could understand the other’s language, so trading was done in silence. With the trading completed, the Aawambo smelted the ore on the spot in termite mounds. The San chief guarded the malachite hill and would fire arrows at anyone who attempted to steal the ore.
Matthew Rogers is on record as having said on 12 January 1893, upon his arrival at the ‘green hill’: “In the whole of my experience, I have never seen such a sight as was presented before my view at Tsumeb, and I very much doubt that I shall ever see another one like this in any other locality.”
That same year Europeans started what would become the Tsumeb Mine, extracting more than 25 million tonnes of mineral ore between 1905 and 1990. The Otavi Minen- und Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft (OMEG), also known as the Otavi Mine and Rail Company, was founded in Berlin, Germany, in 1900 and completed a railway connection between Tsumeb and the coast by 1906. The first smelter at Tsumeb began production in 1907, according to Viljoen.
The current Tsumeb Smelter was built from 1960 to 1962 and commissioned in 1963. Tsumeb Corporation Limited (TCL) commissioned the smelter plant under an American mining company, Newmont Mining Corporation. It featured an integrated copper and lead section, with refinery, and smaller plants that produced cadmium and arsenic trioxide as byproducts.
Production officially started in March 1964 and at that stage the smelter produced more than 3 500 tonnes of copper and 6 000 tonnes of lead per month. By 1986 the smelter was also producing sodium antimonite for export.
It was designed to treat complex ores containing high levels of copper, lead, zinc, arsenic and cadmium. There were environmental and health challenges during the 1980s and 1990s due to specific gas emissions which were above international standards. A new furnace was built and commissioned in 1996 to treat lead and was re-commissioned in 2008 for copper treatment.
In 1988, TCL was taken over by Gold Fields South Africa and administered by Gold Fields Namibia (GFN). Approximately six years later, the lead smelter was closed permanently. In 1996 TCL’s mining and smelting operations came to a standstill following a prolonged labour strike which ultimately led to the closure and liquidation of GFN in 1998.
In March 2000, Namibia’s High Court accepted an offer from Ongopolo Mining and Processing Limited (OMPL) to take over GFN’s mines as well as the smelter plant in Tsumeb. From 2000 to 2008, only the copper section was operational and the arsenic plant was run on a small scale.
In July 2006 Weatherly Mining International acquired OMPL. In December 2008 Weatherly suspended all mining operations because of a major decline in the world copper price and only kept the Tsumeb smelter operational.
The current owners, Dundee Precious Metals from Canada, bought the smelter from Weatherly Mining in March 2010. Production capacity has since been increased from 147 000 tonnes of concentrate in 2010 to 240 000 tonnes per year by 2016.
The facility consists of a primary smelting furnace, the Ausmelt furnace, two Peirce Smith Converters, bag houses and cooling towers, a slag milling plant, two high-voltage distribution substations, a materials handling facility, two oxygen plants, a fume extraction system and a sulphuric acid plant. The smelter employs approximately 800 people.
The smelter is one of only a few in the world that can treat complex copper concentrates. Blister copper and sulphuric acid are smelter products. The blister copper is delivered to refineries in Europe and Asia for final processing to copper metal. Sulphuric acid is a critical component in the mining industry, particularly for uranium and copper production. The Tsumeb smelter produces 98.5% pure copper blister. With its ability to treat complex copper concentrates, it is transitioning from receiving mainly Dundee concentrates into a toll treatment facility, according to the company website.
A new oxygen plant was commissioned in February 2014 to increase the efficiency of the furnace and delivers up to 405 tonnes of oxygen per day. This increase allowed operating rates to move from 150 000 tonnes to 240 000 tonnes of concentrate a year, with sufficient oxygen for an ultimate capacity of 370 000 tonnes, subject to additional plant changes, says Dundee.
Fume capture hoods and baghouses to alleviate release of arsenic containing fugitive gasses to the atmosphere were installed in 2012 and 2013. A sulphuric acid plant was commissioned in 2015, the sulphuric acid produced is sold to Rössing Uranium and Tschudi Copper in Namibia.
Two new Peirce Smith copper converters were commissioned in the first quarter of 2016. The new copper converters are fitted with tight-sealing, water-cooled primary hooding as well as secondary hooding to minimise the uncontrolled release of fugitive gas containing SO2 into the atmosphere. The off-gas from the Ausmelt furnace and the Peirce Smith converters is treated in the sulphuric acid plant, removing sulphur dioxide before the cleaned gas is vented into the atmosphere. In this way, the smelter can now take a byproduct of copper production and turn it into something of value for Namibia.
Sikongo Haihambo, who has been the acting CEO of the Rundu Town Council since September 2018, today resigned from the position.
Haihambo told Nampa in an exclusive interview on Tuesday he decided to leave the council, which has seen a lot of infighting recently.
“From a political perspective for the last six months, I do not see us doing the right thing. There are still tugs of war and people pulling from different directions,” he said, referring to the management committee of the town council which is still incomplete.
The acting CEO said his intention was to serve for six months as stipulated in his original contract.
His six contract lapsed at the end of February this year but the council approached him to extend his stay, to which he agreed.
“I agreed because my mind was very clear that had I gone at that time when the councillors were not talking to each other, it would have been worse,” Haihambo explained.
He said he is not in the business of dropping organisations or responsibilities. Hhowever, for the last six months, he did not see the council “doing the right things.”
The swearing-in of the third member of the Rundu Town Council’s management committee failed to take place here last Thursday, after those earmarked for the position failed to show up.
The third slot was expected to be filled by the Swapo party members’ former deputy mayor Ralf Ihemba, former mayor Verna Sinimbo and Reginald Ndara from the Rundu Concerned Citizens Association.
However, Ihemba and Sinimbo did not show up for the swearing-in ceremony.
The management committee only has two members currently and these are the chairperson of the management committee, Anastacia Antonio, and Faustinus Wakudumo of the All People’s Party.
The Rundu Town Council failed to elect a third member to the management committee in March after Ihemba declined nomination as a member.
Sinimbo also declined nomination to the committee in early February, where the council elected Isak Kandingu as mayor of the town, defying Swapo Secretary-General Sophia Shaningwa’s directive for them to retain the status quo.
Haihambo tendered his two months’ notice to Kandingu as there is no management committee in place.
Kandingu confirmed receiving the acting CEO's resignation, stating that he is very unhappy as Haihambo was the right candidate who could have helped with the development of the town.
“Because of the political fights within council, Haihambo wants to leave and we cannot blame him,” the Rundu Mayor said.
Committee chairperson Hilda Basson-Namundjebo confirmed yesterday they were still waiting for Fifa to give them the green light to extend their period of office until after NFA elections are held. This is after the committee asked Fifa for an extension last month, while saying they will not have enough time to fulfil their mandate. The mandate of the normalisation committee was initially to run the affairs of the NFA until no later than 31 May. It is tasked to ensure that the members of the NFA, whose executive committees are out of mandate, organise and conduct the relevant elections.
The committee, however, encountered constitutional hiccups within the country's football regions, which delayed the national process of electing new leaders at the football association previously led by president Frans Mbidi and former secretary-general Barry Rukoro. “Yes, Fifa has not given us the green light yet, but it is coming soon. “After our request, Fifa did hold a council meeting and we are now just waiting on them,” Basson-Namundjebo said. She confirmed they have been in communication with Fifa on a regular basis.
The committee has been sending monthly reports to update Fifa on matters relating to Namibian football and their updated operations as a committee.
No CAF grants
The normalisation committee also revealed that it has not received any preparatory money from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), as reported. It was announced last month that CAF had given all participating countries U$260 000 (N$3.7 million) for their Afcon tournament preparations. The money will be deducted from the participation fees to be paid to the teams at the end of the tournament. Basson, however, said the committee has not received anything to date and is still waiting for proper communication from CAF.
“CAF has not given us anything yet, even though we did hear about the news. “It was news to us when it came out, but we have tried to enquire because we heard that Nigeria did receive money. CAF has held meetings and we are waiting for a response from them about these funds.” The committee is, however, confident that everything will run smooth ahead of the upcoming Cosafa Cup tournament and Afcon 2019. The committee has requested funding from the government in order to prepare for the Afcon tournament.
“As you can also see, the team for the Cosafa tournament started training yesterday, meaning that everything is in place.” The Brave Warriors have qualified for Afcon for the third time and were drawn against Côte d'Ivoire, South Africa and Morocco in what has been described as “the group of death”.
The competition will be held in Egypt from 21 June to 19 July. Namibia's first match will be against Morocco on 23 June.
Namibia will play their second match against neighbours South Africa on 28 June, before wrapping up their group stage with a match against Côte d'Ivoire on 1 July.
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa
Mbidi claims that Kambatuku accused him of engaging in various unprocedural, fraudulent and/or corrupt activities and that he used his office to benefit financially.
He referred to a statement issued by Kambatuku last year, in which the former NFA president was called a corrupt individual who does not abide by the law and who engages in unconstitutional and corrupt practices for his personal benefit.
It was also alleged in Kambatuku's statement that Mbidi is without moral fibre and was not fit for his then position.
These accusations led to Mbidi being fired by the NFA executive committee in October last year, in the absence of a hearing.
Kambatuku had also alleged that Mbidi had failed a Fifa integrity check and deliberately withheld this information from the NFA executive committee.
He further claimed that Mbidi unprocedurally and corruptly upgraded his flight ticket from economy to business class, at a cost of N$90 000, in order to attend the Fifa Women's Football Symposium in Canada during 2015.
His statement also accused Mbidi of abusing his position, by utilising NFA funds to campaign for positions on the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa), the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Fifa executive committee.
“Mbidi is placing undue pressure on the secretariat of the NFA to pay him US$20 000 from CAF without proper documentation, as well as to pay for (his) other expenses as president,” Kambatuku alleged, adding this amounts to gross abuse of power and position.
In addition Kambatuku also accused Mbidi of drawing a double payment from NFA funds for allowances already advanced and paid to him for CAF, Cosafa and Fifa assignments over a three-and-a-half-year period.
These accusations did not sit well with Mbidi, who says they were widely distributed and became the subject matter of various newspapers articles worldwide.
He said in his court papers he has suffered damages in the amount of N$500 000, which he is now seeking as a judgement against Kambatuku for his actions.
In his court papers, Kambatuku said the comments he made were not wrongful, unlawful or defamatory.
He said he was commenting on a matter of public interest, namely the administration and finances of the NFA.
He explained that CAF paid the NFA an amount of US$100 000, with the directive that an amount of US$20 000 was to be used towards the expenses of the office of the NFA president.
However, Mbidi allegedly insisted and gave directives that the amount be paid to him in his personal capacity, without any documentation or directive from CAF.
This irked Kambatuku, who said Mbidi neglected or failed to uphold his responsibilities diligently.
The court battle is expected to play out the whole of this week, with witnesses also being called.
Ileni Gebhardt appears for Mbidi while Mekumbu Tjiteere appears for Kambatuku. Acting Judge Claudia Claasen presides.
Aanambelewa yomalelo ngoka oya ningi omutumba naNamWater oshiwike sha piti, opo ya kundathane kombinga yokupombela omeya okuza mOndama yaLushandja okuya mUuvudhiya.
Pethimbo lyomutumba ngoka gwa ningilwa koNamibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) oshowo elelo lyOshana mOshakati, Kansela gwoshikandjohogolo shUuvuthiya, Amutenya Ndahafa okwa popi kutya iimuna otayi tindi okunwa momulonga moka molwaashoka omeya oga ninga oshimongwa naaniimuna oya tameka okweenditha iimuna yawo iinano iile, taya kongo omeya.
Omulonga gwaPonona ohagu mono omeya gawo okuza mondjila yomeya yaCuvelai, ndjoka ya kwatakanithwa kumwe kiishana okuza muumbugantu waAngola okuya mEtosha, ihe omolwa omuloka gwa nkundipala nuumvo omeya inaga thika momulonga ngoka nuumvo.
Ndahafa okwa popi kutya omolwa omuloka omwaanawa ngoka gwa li ko omvula ya piti, omulonga ngoka ogwa li gwa mono omeya ogendji ihe nuumvo inaku lokwa nomulonga ngoka inagu mono omeya. Omeya ngoka ge li mo ngashiingeyi oge na oshimongwa.
“Aanafaalama yomUuvuthiya oyiikolelela mOmulonga gwaPonona oshowo momulonga gwaYinakulu yomadhiya. Omeya gomOponona oge na oshimongwa uushitwe ihe ngele oga tulwa mumwe nomeya gomvula ohaga vulu okunuwa kiimuna. Otatu indile NamWater opo a pombele omeya mUuvuthiya, gwomulonga gwaPonona gu vule okumona omeya.”
Uuvuthiya owu na ehala ewanawa lyuulithilo na owu li egumbo komwaalu omunene gwoohambo dhaanafaalama okuza mOhangwena, Oshikoto, Omusati oshowo Oshana ihe kape na oozo dha gwana dhomeya.
Aanafaalama ngashiingeyi oyiikolelela komunino gwaShakati-Omapale ngoka gu na omahala gomeya gontumba.
Nonando ongaaka Ndahafa okwa popi kutya aaniimuna ngashiingeyi otaya uvithwa nayi komeya ngoka taga ende kashona, na oya talele po ombelewa ye taya nyenyeta, molwaashoka omunino ngoka itagu gwanitha we okugandja omeya kiimuna ayehe momudhingoloko omolwa ompumbwe yomeya.
Natango aalongithi yomeya ngoka oye na oongunga dha NamWater dhoomiliyona 3.4.
Ngoloneya gwaShana, Elia Irimari pethimbo lyomutumba ngoka gwa ningwa naanambelewa yaNamWater mOutapi, okwa popi kutya NamWater okwa lombwele oongoloneya mboka yaali kutya onkalo yompumbwe yomeya ndjoka ya talela ngashiingeyi onooli yoshilongo, otayi etithwa kelongo lyokanala kaCalueque-Oshakati.
Irimari okwa popi kutya NamWater otashi vulika a ka pombele omeya momulonga gwaPonona uuna a mana niilonga yokupangela okanala hoka. Omupopiliko gwehangano ndyoka Johannes Shigwedha okwa popi kutya aakuthimbinga ayehe ya gumwa koshinima shoka oye na okutsakumwe tango komilandu dhontumba omanga inaku pombwa omeya okuza mOlushandja okuya mOponona.
“Ngashiingeyi otwa pata manga oompomba dhomeya mondama yaCalueque Dam moAngola na otatu kutha omeya mOlushandja okugandja koompungulilo dhetu dhomeya mOutapi, Ogongo nOshakati. Otwa ningi omutumba noongoloneya yaali moka twa kundathana kombinga yonkalo yomeya.
Epombo lyomeya mOlushandja-Uuvudhiya otali ka guma aalongithi yomeya miitopolwa shaMusati oshowo Oshana onkene aakuthimbinga oya pumbw oakutsakumwe tango omanga omeya inaga pombwa.” MuJuli gwo2016, NamWater okwa li a tameke okupombela omeya okuza mOlushandja okuza kOponona, ta longitha okanala kuule wookilometa 130, ihe sigo omomwedhi Januari 2017 omeya ngoka inaga thika mOponona. Aanafaalama oya li yiiyamba okuwapaleka okanala opo omeya ga tondoke taga endelele andola, ihe omolwa evi ndyoka lya kukutha omeya oga pwinepo owala.
Ireneus Shigwedha okwa lombwele oshifokundaneki shoNamibian Sun kutya, iimuna ye mbyoka oya si konima sho ya napa mepya mOsoondaha. “Mosoondaha onda dhengelwa ongodhi kaalithi yiimuna yandje kutya oongombe otadhi si konima sho dha kala dha fula omapunda. Sho nda pula kutya odhiihula okulya nenge okunwa uunake, okwa lombwelendje kutya oya tameke okudhitula mepya omo dhinape.”
Shigwedha okwa popi kutya aaniilonga ye mboka oye mu lombwele kutya iimuna inayi nwa omeya mOsoondaha omolwa ompumbwe yomeya ndjoka ya dhidhilikwa momudhingoloko moka uule wiiwike ya piti, sho omunino gwomeya gwawo gwa kwatakanithwa nomunino omunene gwaNamWater ngoka gwa za kOmuthiya.
Shigwedha okwa popi kutya okwa hingi ongulohi ndjoka okuza mOngwediva okuya kOmutsegwonime, na okwa adha oongombe 10 dha sa nale.
Okwa popi kutya ota fekele owala kutya kape na shilwe shoka sha dhipaga iimuna, na omahangu owala ngoka omatalala.
Aanafaalama oyendji monooli yoshilongo oya taalela onkalo yiilya yawo mbyoka inayi kola omolwa ompumbwe yomuloka. Nonando iilya mbyoka oya koko inayi vula okutula ko oomuma , noyendji oya tameke nale okupalutha iimuna yawo nomahangu ngoka.
Omundohotola gwiimuna gwepangelo mOmuthiya, Dr Frenada Haufiku okwa popi kutya oshiningwanima shoka shomOmutsegwonime, ineshi lopotelwa, ihe okwa kunkilile aanafaalama opo kaya paluthe iimuna yawo niilya iitalala yomahangu nenge yiilyaalyaka.
“Omahangu oshowo iilyaalyaka otayi vulu okukala uusigo ngele inayi koka nawa, unene ngele inayi tulako omitse. Osha nika oshiponga noonkondo ngele aanafaalama otaya palutha iimuna yawo omanga iilya mbyoka iitalala. Onawa aanafaalama ya tegelele opo yi kukute yo iimuna yawo yi vule nduno okunapa miilya mbyoka,” Haufiku a popi.
The much-publicised elephant conference kicked off on 3 May and culminated in a Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) heads of state meeting yesterday.
State House confirmed in a statement that Geingob, who is also chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), would embark on a one-day trip to Kasane.
Geingob will participate in the summit at the invitation of the Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The summit is taking place under the theme 'Towards a common vision for the management of southern Africa's elephants'.
Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta meanwhile attended the SADC environment ministers' meeting during the summit which focussed on issues of the 18th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES Cop18).
Shifeta said in his statement that the involvement of local communities is crucial to ensure that they benefit sustainably from co-existing and conserving elephants.
“The resolutions of the summit are very important in assisting the region to move forward as they will now speak with one voice on issues of conservation, and in particular elephant management,” he said.
The summit seeks to raise awareness on the current status of the African elephants in the southern African region, exchange ideas on human-elephant conflict, illegal and legal trade, and agree on concrete interventions to address challenges.
The African elephant has been subject of much discussion in international fora such as CITES.
A moratorium on international trade has been in place since 2008 until 2017, but illegal trade has increased. Meanwhile ivory stocks held by countries whose populations are under Appendix II have continued to grow placing a burden on these countries to secure those resources.
Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia want to sell their stockpiles and are lobbying CITES to allow them to do so.
The summit is therefore important as the issue of wildlife conservation and trophy hunting has become the subject of intense debate, with most international media criticising the region over the alleged cruel killing of animals.
Although elephants are endangered globally, southern African elephants are not.
The call within the region is that communities must benefit and efforts are being made throughout the region to ensure that communities which bear the brunt of wildlife benefit.
Southern Africa is home to the largest population of elephants on the continent, with 75% of these elephants found within the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. In 1995, Namibia had about 7 000 elephants, in 2004 the total population was estimated at about 16 000 animals, while the current figure is just over 22 000 elephants, the highest recorded number since population surveys commenced.
The programme was implemented by the agricultural ministry in Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi, Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati and Kunene North, and partly in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions, in order to increase food production.
Through the programme, farmers were assisted with subsidised farming inputs like fertilisers, improved seeds and agricultural services, such as ploughing and weeding.
According to a technical paper submitted to parliament as part of the ministry's budget motivation, a total of 652 tons of fertiliser was availed to farmers under the fertiliser subsidy during the 2018/19 cropping season. A total of 347 tons of fertiliser was procured by the ministry, while the shortfall of 305 tons of was covered with stock from the previous cropping season. The ministry said only 23.7 tons of fertiliser was sold during the 2018/19 cropping season.
A total of 276 farmers benefitted from the fertiliser subsidy - 133 females and 143 males.
During the 2018/19 cropping season, a total of 98 tons of mahangu seeds, 224 tons of maize seeds and 18 tons of cowpea seeds were also availed to the implementing regions of the Dry Land Crop Production Programme.
A total of 16 227 farmers (6 807 male and 942 female) benefitted from the seed subsidy during the period under review.
Furthermore, 17 695 hectares were tilled through ploughing, ripping and planting under the programme.
The ministry said a total of 11 762 farmers, of which 5 338 were female and 6 424 male, benefitted from the subsidised tilling services. A total of 4 152 hectares of land was also ploughed through government-subsidised services and 2 861 farmers benefitted. A total of 169 temporary jobs were created through the recruitment of contract tractor drivers.
It has been customary since 1995 for the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) to annually bestow this prestigious award on an exceptional grain farmer.
The event was hosted in collaboration with Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) under the theme 'Effective Agronomy Management'.
According to NAB's manager for white maize and wheat, Antoinette Pritzen, the award is presented to a farmer who is not necessarily evaluated on the size of their harvest, but rather on practising an exceptional innovative scientific approach, good risk diversification, good labour relations and community involvement.
Van der Merwe started farming with maize in 2007 when he bought the Ludwigshaven plot. For this year alone he planted maize on 42 hectares of land, all under irrigation, with an expected average yield of approximately 12 tonnes per hectare.
He planted two varieties of maize and is also facilitating eight other trial varieties on behalf of Agra. In addition to that, he practices the crop rotation technique in order to enhance soil fertility and crop yield.
Apart from maize, Van der Merwe is also a well-known horticulture farmer and says that he and his team hand-planted potatoes on five hectares of land in just nine hours.
Van der Merwe currently employs 22 full-time workers, of which 13 are females and nine are males, and he hopes to expand his operations to offer more job opportunities in the near future.
“In order to harvest better yields successfully, you need to provide your plants with quality water and nutrient inputs as well as manage a quality staff component,” said Van der Merwe.
The abundance of the most valuable grass species in many parts of the country has decreased, resulting in loss of grazing value especially in communal areas, and the carrying capacity has drastically decreased over the years.
The grasses that are now dominating are the opportunistic ones with little grazing value such as Aristida stipitata, amongst others.
This has significantly compromised livestock productivity and the potential income of farms.
The underlying reasons are the poor grazing regimes which led to overgrazing, in turn resulting in rangeland degradation in the form of bush encroachment and soil erosion, amongst others, and this is further exacerbated by the erratic rainfall.
When there is no grass there will be no money. The grazing value of an area is determined by the grass growth/life cycle, species composition and nutritional value.
There are two types of grasses in terms of life cycles; these are annual and perennial grasses.
An annual grass (e.g. Eragrostis porosa, Chloris virgata, etc.) is mainly the first grass type to emerge in abundance after the first rainfall, and thus, the first green food for grazing animals after the dry season.
Annual grasses have a shallow root system and few leaf materials; and only need a minute amount of moisture, nutrient and sunlight.
These types of grasses grow and produce seeds fast, but survive only during the rainy season and die (disappear as winter season starts).
The next annual grass will only grow from the seed. In contrast, perennial grasses such as the common Cenchrus ciliaris (blue buffalo grass) Schmidtia pappophoroide (Kalahari sand quick), or Anthephora pubescens (wool grass) have deep root systems and massive leaf materials, and require enough investment in terms of moisture, nutrients, and sunlight, and thus take longer (about 2-3 months) to grow to maturity. They are the bulk of the grazing animal's diet throughout the year.
At the end of the rainy season, they do not die but go into dormancy for the dry season. They shed seeds and withdraw all nutrients (from leaves and stems) back underground in their stump as food reserves for the next season's growth.
The same dormant grass stump will produce fresh/new stems and leaves, and also, the seeds will germinate into new grasses.
These grasses shed seeds as they start to dry in the dry season, from May.
These seeds may be found collected together in ditches on the soil. In August, the wind distributes and sows them, and when the rainfall starts, the germination process begins.
In an effort to restore grazing lands and produce their own fodder, farmers need to reintroduce these perennial grasses by re-seeding. These grasses can be cultivated and protected like food crops in gardens or crop fields, and can also be planted in grazing areas.
The seeds can be harvested from standing grass or purchased from common agricultural input shops.
It is very important that cultivated grasses are protected from disturbance (grazing), and are allowed to grow to maturity until they produce seeds and are able to regenerate themselves.
Once harvested, it can be processed into hay or milled and mixed with other feedstuffs and used or stored for the period of fodder scarcity.
*Erastus Ngaruka is the technical officer of livestock at Agribank
Huang is suing the two, along with Jinhao Investment CC, for N$3 million in an amended particulars of claim filed in March, in which he alleges making various payments.
Nevonga is the long-serving Namibia Public Workers' Union (Napwu) secretary-general, while Itope is a former Ondangwa councillor.
Nevonga, Itope and Jinhao filed an intention to defend last year.
In their amended plea they denied Huang's claim that he had paid N$3.2 million as well as an additional N$1.6 million “in respect of the capital contribution on behalf of Nevonga and Itope, as agreed”.
They say the money was paid to Jinhao, and not on their behalf. They added it was a “loan” to the company.
Moreover, the two told the court they “deny ever admitting to being personally liable to Huang for monies advanced to Jinhao”.
Huang said he left the closed corporation on 2 February 2018.
It was agreed Huang would appoint a proxy to continue as a member in his stead and thus he continues to hold a membership interest in Jinhao. Huang, in his particulars, told the court that both Nevonga and Itope had been “enriched” by his financial contributions, which the two adamantly deny.
“The first and second defendant therefore deny they are indebted to the plaintiff,” the defendants claim in their papers.
However, in Annexure B, minutes of a meeting held on 31 August 2017, state it “showed that Mr Huang had over-contributed N$1 254 427.62, resulting in an under-contribution of that same amount for Messrs Nevonga and Itope together”.
“This was after N$1.6 million was deducted from Mr Huang's capital contribution and added to Itope/Nevonga's capital contribution. This is treated as a personal loan towards Mr Itope and Mr Nevonga from Mr Huang. This loan is to bear interest at the same percentage as a bank loan. Members to resolve the issue amongst themselves.”
Huang has filed three claims. The first is payment of N$1.6 million, the second N$1 254 427 and the third for N$180 000, which Huang says is the amount owed by Nevonga and Itope, based on their membership interests in Jinhao. Huang had loaned N$300 000 to the company.
This was also discussed during the August meeting. “Went through the suppliers list. Most urgent suppliers whose payments are outstanding were identified. It was determined that Mr Huang was to (forward) an amount of N$300 000 to pay these urgent suppliers as soon as possible, to avoid sour relations between us and these suppliers. Members are to pay back this amount according to their percentages.” The minutes state that Nevonga and Itope would each have to pay N$90 000 in this regard.
In their amended plea, the two deny ever having received these monies, adding that the company did not either. They added that should the monies have been paid to the company, they are not indebted to Huang. They asked the court to dismiss Huang's claim, with costs.
On 12 March, Ueitele granted Huang a payment of N$500 000, after his company, Sun Investments, had sued Jinhao Investment for N$715 000. Jinhao Investment traded as Super Foods, a store at Sun Square Mall in Ondangwa.
According to court papers, the company was in a state of chaos, and there were several problems with paying suppliers, as indicated in the minutes of company meetings.
“We also experienced issues obtaining income to purchase stock; store income could not cover all the operating expenses.” Namibia Beverages had allegedly also dealt with the supermarket as a “cash client, after [they] failed to meet [their] agreement”.
Mention was also made of a frozen Nedbank account and that “for now, salaries were paid by Mr Huang”. And “as soon as the bank (account) is unfrozen, Mr Huang will be refunded the amount paid”.
Huang is represented by Appolos Shimakeleni in both matters and Kadhila Amoomo appears for Nevonga and Itope.
President Hage Geingob declared the state of emergency on Monday.
This is the third time in six years that government has taken this step.
Drought was also declared a national crisis in 2013 and in 2016.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila yesterday announced a N$572 million government intervention strategy in the National Assembly.
“Given the extent of the drought, these interventions will require the support of all Namibians, especially the business community and the international community. We therefore call on all Namibians and development partners to assist in any way possible, so that we provide for our people who are affected, as well as the livestock,” she said.
Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) executive manager
Roelie Venter said the most important action resulting from the state of emergency declaration is that Geingob has requested all offices, ministries and agencies to work together to reduce the impact of the drought.
“Finance institutions also need to support producers to make their cash flow management easier.”
He said this can be done by, for instance, extending the instalment terms on long-term loans.
Venter said a five-year recovery plan also needs to be developed, because the real cash flow pressure on producers begins when the rains start again.
“I believe international assistance will be available for food aid. However, international aid for the implementation of a drought scheme will be a bigger challenge.”
He said the first step should now be to implement the drought scheme and to straighten out priorities.
“The most important action is to make incentives available to market livestock. This will minimise losses and protect the grazing resource.”
Venter further described the situation on the ground as critical.
“There is no roughage and producers must feed their livestock to keep them alive. A long year lies ahead and a lot of producers are currently busy making feed from bush, which is part of the solution.”
He added the condition of especially livestock with calves is deteriorating very quickly.
According to Venter some livestock deaths on farms could have been prevented.
“Therefore, animals should be removed from the field as quickly as possible. To try and feed a core herd for the rest of the year is not profitable.”
He said the fact that Meatco is stabilising slaughter prices has had a very positive effect, because there is an opportunity to slim down cows and deliver them to Meatco.
According to him Meatco is currently slaughtering 600 animals per day, which is unheard of in comparison to the past, and the demand is still much higher than they can slaughter.
The Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) met with their members in Otjiwarongo yesterday to share the news that a state of emergency had been declared.
NNFU executive director Mwilima Mushokobanji told Namibian Sun they would be having a media conference afterwards.
More than 30 000 cattle have already died due to the drought, while 24 598 goats, 8 238 sheep, 518 horses, and 296 donkeys have perished.
A statement released this week notes that among the 99 suspects, 88 are Namibian, three Angolan, three Congolese and one South African, while four are Tanzanian nationals. Among the illegal narcotics seized were 82 units of crack cocaine, with an estimated street value of N$8 200, in addition to 14 grams of cocaine powder valued at N$7 000. The police also seized 418 mandrax tablets, valued at N$50 160. Forty cartons of 'Yes cigarettes' were also seized, valued at N$8 000.
The majority of drugs seized by the Namibian police in April related to cannabis and cannabis plants.
More than 531 kilograms of cannabis, with an estimated street value of more than N$5.3 million, were seized; in addition to plants weighing 20 grams and valued at N$200.
At the end of April, police arrested a 63-year-old man near Mariental for being in possession of 135 grams of cannabis, valued at N$ 1 300. At the same time, police in Mariental also confiscated five bags of cannabis, 26 quarter mandrax tablets, 13 half mandrax tablets and 15 full mandrax tablets, valued at N$ 3 360, from a 29-year-old man.
Protests are increasing countrywide, urging government to decriminalise or legalise the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, which many say should not be classed alongside other types of illegal substances such as cocaine and crack cocaine.
Activists have noted the potential economic benefits of legalising cannabis, which worldwide has seen many countries approve efforts to decriminalise the herb.
President Hage Geingob must be commended for listening to the cries of both commercial and communal farmers. The intervention also comes at a critical time for government, as it seeks to mobilise a shortfall of N$137.8 million, in order to effectively implement drought relief efforts. Executive director in the agriculture ministry, Percy Misika, revealed recently that only N$304.9 million of the N$442.7 million needed for comprehensive interventions is currently available. The funds are mainly used for logistics and the transportation of food, water tankers, as well as the rehabilitation and installation of boreholes. The situation on the ground is depressing, as many farmers are unable to move their cattle to better grazing areas, because of their frail condition. Another critical factor, further stressing the situation, is the closure of strategic abattoirs, especially in northern Namibia in places like Eenhana, Rundu, Oshakati and Katima Mulilo. The Katima Mulilo abattoir was closed in 2014, along with the one at Oshakati, because of operational losses. This has effectively left farmers without a proper market, especially since they have been recording a dramatic rise in their livestock numbers. A lack of oversight and poor project management on the part of government is also compromising service delivery, especially at Rundu, where the authorities constructed a N$110 million abattoir, which was supposed to have been operational by 2017. Machinery and equipment are yet to be installed. While we appreciate the caring attitude of government, and the political will to tackle the severe drought, its sometimes lax approach remains a huge concern. Government, with its critical stakeholders, including farmers’ unions, agencies and offices, must always ensure that a proactive approach is taken. This entails the proper planning of the necessary measures to prevent or minimise drought impacts in advance, and ensuring they are implemented on time. We must get our priorities right, especially during a drought crisis.