The history of mining in Namibia is over 400 years old and archaeological evidence of copper smelting near today’s Matchless Mine is the oldest record of mining in Namibia.
The indigenous people of the Otavi Mountainland also made use of the abundant copper ore in the area. The first prospectors visited Namibia in 1761/62 and 1790/92, and reported that the local inhabitants mined, processed and traded copper. By 1850, Chief Jonker Afrikaner had established informal copper mining operations at the Natas Mine, and traded the ore in Walvis Bay. Commercial mining commenced in 1856 with the opening of the Matchless Copper Mine, followed by the Pomona Silver Mine in 1864.
Namibia’s mining sector has since grown into a world-class producer of gem quality rough diamonds, uranium oxide, special high-grade zinc, gold bullion, blister copper, lead and zinc concentrate, salt and dimension stone. The country is home to a number of globally renowned mining companies that have adopted state-of-the-art mining and processing technologies, and are proud members of the Chamber.
Today, mining activities make up a vital part of the country’s economy. The industry is the biggest primary sector in terms of GDP compared to fishing and agriculture, and is the predominant generator of foreign exchange earnings through the sale and export of mineral products.
Mining is an important source of income to Government, which generates approximately 7% of the fiscus each year. The industry is inherently capital intensive and its contribution to direct job creation is relatively small when compared to tourism, fishing and agriculture. However, the multiplier effect of mining creates a large number of indirect jobs through procurement activities in the local supply chain.
In addition to job creation, towns and communities have benefited from mining through targeted investments into infrastructure and facilities such as health and education, but also from impactful Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives that aim to boost local economic development. Moreover, members of the Chamber are actively engaged in environmental conservation efforts to help communities preserve and protect their surrounding natural ecosystems and habitats.