Chamber initiatives towards sustainable development
The Chamber of Mines subscribes to the principles of sustainable development in its overarching Mission as such an approach is critical for a mining company to maintain its ‘social licence to operate’ in the community. It is thus essential to integrate environmental, economic and social aspects in all phases of mineral production. The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) interprets sustainable development for the mining and metals sector as investments should that are technically appropriate, environmentally sound, financially profitable and socially responsible.
Joint CSR Initiatives
In 2017, the Council of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia approved the concept of investing in offsets in non-mining regions of Namibia. This is in line with strategic objectives to broaden the industry’s contribution to social and economic development in regions of the country where there are no mining operations. To achieve this, it was proposed that Chamber members collectively contribute to projects that deliver long-term socio-economic benefits in non-mining areas.
Two projects were identified; the first involving the electrification of the Lubuta and Sachina villages in the Mashi conservancy in the Zambezi Region and the second, providing support to the Shackdwellers Foundation for provision of affordable serviced land to the poor in Oshakati. This initiative is administered in partnership with the Namibia Chamber of Environment (NCE), and Chamber of Mines members have collectively contributed a total of N$1,325,939 to these two initial projects.
Critical Team Members: Charles Loots, General Manager and Director, B2Gold Namibia Dr. Chris Brown, CEO, Namibian Chamber of Environment
Best Practice Guide
One of the main achievements of the Environmental and Social Committee has been the production of the industry’s very own Best Practice Guide on Environmental Principles for Mining in Namibia. The guide is the first of its kind to be produced by any sector in Namibia, and its curation involved collaborative input from industry, government and the environmental civil society. In partnership with the Chamber of Mines, the guide was jointly compiled by the Namibia Chamber of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Tourism and authored by Environmental Compliance Consultancy. The publication provides key information for industry practitioners and personnel on how environmental, social and economic aspects are best managed throughout the mining lifecycle
Critical Team Members: Charles Loots, General Manager and Director, B2Gold Namibia
Dr. Chris Brown, CEO, Namibian Chamber of Environment
Jessica Bezuidenhout, Director, Environmental Compliance Consultancy
A crucial aspect of sustainable practices in mining is comprehensive mine closure planning that facilitates a smooth transition to closure once the operation reaches the end of its life of mine. This transition should include rehabilitation of the mining site mitigate environmental impacts, but should also consider the impact on surrounding communities upon closure of the mine.
Recognising that pre-independence mining operations left over 200 unrehabilitated mining sites in Namibia, the Chamber of Mines, in collaboration with its members, developed the Mine Closure Framework to guide the intricacies for planning and mitigation aspects for when operations come to an end.
The Chamber also advocates for sustainable development through mining at a national level. In support of this, and Government’s goal of economic transformation in Namibia, the industry, through the Chamber of Mines, has created its very own Mining Charter. The Mining Charter sets targets on social and economic pillars, with the overall objective to achieve meaningful broad-based economic empowerment of Namibians through the mining sector.
At present, the Mining Charter is currently in review after an initial round of implementation.
Critical Team Member: Veston Malango, CEO, Chamber of Mines of Namibia
Regional and Continental representation
At a regional level, over the last 20 years, the Chamber has been actively involved in advocating for policies and legislation to promote sustainable development in mining. The Chamber of Mines of Namibia has been cooperating with other Chamber of Mines bodies in the SADC region under the umbrella organisation, the Mining Industry Association of Southern Africa (MIASA). Through its representation on MIASA, the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, also played a key role in establishing the Association of Chambers of Mines and other Mining Associations in Africa (ACMMAA). This continental body was created in Windhoek, October 2017 for the purpose of advancing, promoting, protecting and fostering Africa’s mining sectors.
Chamber representative: Veston Malango, CEO, Chamber of Mines of Namibia