Major Mines in Namibia
Namibia is a world-class producer of gem quality rough diamonds, uranium oxide, special high-grade zinc, gold bullion, blister copper, and lead concentrate as well as salt and dimension stone. A number of world renown mining companies using state-of-the-art mining and processing technologies are members of the Chamber. Rio Tinto plc and Vedanta plc mining companies produce uranium oxide at Rossing mine and special high-grade zinc at the Skorpion mine and refinery respectively. Paladin Energy's Langer Heinrich Uranium mine is in full production and achieved nameplate production sustainably in 2013.
The world's number one diamond producer, De Beers, works with the Government of the Republic of Namibia (GRN) through Namdeb Holdings in a 50:50 joint venture, producing some of the world's finest gem diamonds. Namdeb's output increasingly comes from under the sea, thanks to the technical expertise of Debmarine Namibia. Further value addition is boosted by 13 diamond cutting and manufacturing factories that utilise about 15 percent of diamond production by Namdeb Holdings.
QKR Namibia produces gold bullion at Navachab Mine near Karibib. Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation produces zinc and lead concentrates at Rosh Pinah. Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb produces blister copper at the Tsumeb smelter, from imported copper concentrates.
The mining industry continues to make reinvestments into the sector, as evidenced by the commissioning of Namdeb’s Sendelingsdrif mine and their state of the art sorting facility, the new Red Area Complex on 7 November, 2014. Furthermore, Vedanta intends to convert the Skorpion zinc refinery to process zinc sulphide concentrates and is considering developing an underground to access deeper ore bodies.
Lastly, Debmarine Namibia inaugurated its N$2.3 billion exploration vessel, mv SS Nujoma, at the Port of Walvis Bay on 15 June 2017. This vessel was built in Norway and is considered the most technically advanced exploration and sampling vessel in the world, which will significantly boost resource development capacity for the off-shore diamond mining company.
New Mines and Development
Three new mines have come into production over the last three years, reigning in over N$40 billion of fixed investments. These include the Swakop Uranium Husab mine, B2Gold's Otjikoto gold mine, and Weatherly’s Tschudi mine. The Otjikoto gold mine and the Tschudi mine are operating at full capacity, producing gold bullion and copper cathode respectively. The Husab uranium mine is expected to ramp up operations in 2019 and will become the world’s second largest uranium mine.
The recent spike in demand of battery minerals and improving commodity prices has resulted in the development of a new mine, the speedy restart of some old mining operations and prominent exploration projects. In April 2017, the Okanjande Graphite mine, under joint ownership between Gecko Namibia and Imerys Graphite and Carbon, produced first tonnages of graphite flakes. Towards the end of 2017, Desert Lion Energy also produced lithium from the old Rubicon and Helikon mines while African Tantalum produced Namibia’s first shipment of Tantalum pentoxide. North River Resources is also re-developing the Namib Lead and Zinc mine in the Erongo region for production early in 2019. Furthermore, Weatherly is considering modest restarts at the Matchless and Otjihase mines. There is also near-future potential for other copper projects such as Craton’s Omitiomire project as well as the old Berg Aukas and Kombat mines.
Prominent exploration projects include several rare earths deposits and the Opuwo Cobalt project; under joint development by Gecko Namibia and Celsius Resources, which has yielded promising results to date.