Ad Top Banner

Namibia to honor existing mineral and petroleum deals, eyes future project stakes

June 01, 2023

The Ministry of Mines and Energy on Thursday said that it has no plans to seize shares from existing mineral and petroleum license holders.

Instead, the ministry intends to take up equity in future projects, emphasizing that it is the right of every Namibian to benefit from the country's natural resources.

"In spite of this constitutional provision, the government has no intention of seizing any stake from current mineral or petroleum license holders and remains committed to upholding the sanctity of contracts," said Andreas Simon, the spokesperson for the Mines and Energy ministry.

"However, the reality is that Namibians are currently at a disadvantage because they may lack the financial and other means to exercise their rights in relation to natural resources. Therefore, as the supreme owner of these resources, the State may demand a certain minimum stake through public enterprises such as Epangelo Mining Company or National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) in any future mineral or petroleum licenses that may be issued."

Simon cited Article 100 of the Namibian Constitution as the basis for the government's future intent. 

The article states, "Land, water, and natural resources below and above the surface of the land, in the continental shelf, within the territorial waters, and the exclusive economic zone of Namibia shall belong to the State if they are not otherwise lawfully owned."

Simon reminded stakeholders that the Namibian people have a legitimate expectation of having a share in the ownership of the country's natural resources.

"Recognizing that many Namibians may not have the individual capacity or resources to exercise these rights or expectations on their own, it is just for the government to acquire these rights on their behalf," he said.

He further assured that the government will exercise these rights in a balanced manner, considering the interests of both investors and the Namibian nation.

"The Ministry would like to emphasize that this is a common practice in Namibia, especially in the petroleum and mining sectors, and we should maintain such practice in the interest of all our stakeholders."

The ministry's explanation comes after Bloomberg quoted Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo saying, "We are advocating that local ownership must begin with the State, which holds ownership of our natural resources."

In response, some companies, including Uranium developer Paladin Energy, reacted strongly. On Tuesday, Paladin voluntarily halted the trading of its shares after investors wiped off 20% of its market value on the ASX.

Paladin owns 75% of the Langer Heinrich mine, which has been inactive since August 2018 but is currently undergoing a N$2.3 billion ($US118 million) restart effort.










Rate this item
(0 votes)
Last modified on Friday, 02 June 2023 19:29