The Chamber of Mines of Namibia says the immediate outlook for the mining sector is promising apart from the uranium sector.
Former Chamber President, Johan Coetzee, said this week that uranium was the only commodity whose outlook is not promising.
“Market observers had hoped the announcement from Kazakhstan, the world’s top uranium producer, to cut uranium production by 10 percent, along with Cameco’s decision to close one of its major uranium producing mines in Canada, would spark the much-anticipated increase in uranium price.
“However, prices in 2017 continued to hover around US$20 per pound, with uranium miners across the globe feeling the pinch, not to mention our local producers,” Coetzee said in the Chamber 2017 Annual Report.
Statistics released by the chamber this week showed that Uranium output from the Rössing uranium mine increased by 14 percent from 850 tonnes in 2016 to 2,110 tonnes in 2017.
The output from the Langer Heinrich Uranium mine dropped from 2 236 tonnes of uranium in 2016 to 1, 526 in accordance with its plan to reduce output by 20 percent in 2017 and 2018, in attempt to streamline operations in a persistently low uranium price environment.
Following production of its first drum of yellow cake on 30 December 2016, Swakop Uranium produced 1,345 tonnes of uranium oxide in 2017.
The company expects to reach full capacity by 2019, in accordance with their planned schedule.
In terms of zinc production, refinery production decreased from 85,427 tonnes in 2016 to 84,215 tonnes in 2017.
The drop in production was a result of Skorpion Zinc’s extensive push back programme to mine zinc oxide from the extended ore body.
Following a two-month long strike in 2016, zinc concentrate from the Rosh Pinah Zinc mine increased significantly from 80,560 tonnes to 97,364 tonnes in 2017.
Lead concentrate production from the Rosh Pinah mine dropped from 14,862 tonnes in 2016 to 13,915, largely due to the lower grades ore body mined.
B2Gold’s Otjikoto gold mine produced 5,429 kilograms of gold bullion in 2017, a 15 percent increase from 4,714 kilogram produced in 2016.
Output from the Navachab gold mine remained largely the same in 2017 when compared to 2016, producing 1,843 kilograms of gold bullion.
Tschudi copper mine produced 15,466 tonnes of copper cathode in 2017, a reduction of 5.6 percent from 16,391 tonnes produced in 2016.
Copper cathode production was negatively impacted in the first quarter of 2017 due to slower leaching of sulphide ore, with the problem further compounded by the above average rainfall received.
Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer, Veston Malango said the 2017 Fraser Institute Survey of mining companies shows that Namibia currently ranks as the sixth most attractive destination in Africa, an improvement from the 9th position in 2016.
“However, it is not prudent to compare overall ranking as the number of participating African countries have been declining over the last three years. To compare measures in the absolute score is thus a more accurate indication of true performance and Namibia’s score in terms of its overall attractiveness fell from 66.11 in 2016 to 60.67 in 2017,” Malango said.