Namibia Capitalizes on Mineral Riches, Eyes Greener Economy, Local Value Addition

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

Namibia stands as the world’s fourth-largest uranium oxide producer and the eighth-largest diamond producer. Beyond these, the country boasts substantial reserves of base metals, precious metals, and rare earth elements.

As the global pivot towards a greener economy drives demand for vital minerals, Namibia is positioning itself as a significant supplier to Europe. In tandem, the country is crafting policies to bolster local value retention and addition.

In light of the global push for renewable energy, Namibia has emerged as a vital source for minerals critical to renewable energy tech, notably cobalt and lithium. Lepidico, a global exploration firm, is spearheading the development of a lithium mine in western Namibia. The firm is currently in talks with multiple U.S. entities to maximize the benefits from Namibia’s lithium boom, while also aiming to harness by-products like cesium and rubidium.

In northern Namibia’s Kunene Region, progress is underway at the Opuwo Cobalt Mining Project. Celsius Resources announced the successful completion of the initial stage of diamond drilling in March 2022. Furthermore, Andrada Mining unveiled its first bulk lithium concentrate from its Nai-Nais mine last May, hinting at the mine’s potential.

Significantly, the Ministry of Mines and Energy unveiled a notable deposit of rare earth metals at Kalkfield in the Otjozondjupa Region in March 2022. This revelation, alongside the global demand for minerals essential to renewable energy storage and electric vehicles, is poised to drive more investment into the Namibian mining sector. To further cement its standing, the Namibian government entered a provisional deal in October 2022 to supply the European Union with its rare earth minerals.

Focus on Local Value Addition

Namibia is making concerted efforts to ensure that its mineral wealth benefits its local industry. A landmark step in this direction was the government’s ban, issued last June, on exporting unprocessed lithium and other vital minerals. This decision is in line with Namibia’s vision to not only fuel the global green energy drive but also to cultivate a rich, diversified industrial landscape domestically.

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