Published on July 26th, 2016 | by admin0
GLOBAL NEWS AFFECTING BUSINESS IN NAMIBIA
GLENCORE REVEALS PAYMENTS
Global mining and commodities trading firm Glencore issued its first Payments-To-Governments Report in an attempt to demonstrate its transparency. In a 17-page report, Glencore CFO Steve Kalmin provided an overview of the US$5 billion it paid last year to 16 governments ranging from Argentina to Zambia and including Namibia. Disclosing payments made on a country and project basis, the report is aligned to the requirements of Chapter 10 of the European Union’s accounting directive. In Namibia Glencore owns an 80.1 percent stake in Rosh Pinah zinc and lead mine. The amount paid by Glencore to the Namibian government in 2015, in terms of payments required to be made public by the EU Directive, totalled US$7,801,000 or at current exchange rates around N$117 million. The amount breaks down as: N$100 million in taxes, N$16 million in royalties, and N$1 million in customs duties. Providing transparent information about payments to governments reduces the potential for corruption by all parties and allows citizens to assess how their governments use funds received from transnational companies. Glencore is an active member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Australia benefitted the most from Glencore’s payments to government in 2015 – receiving US$866,744,000 while South Africa was paid US$83,500,000.
PHOSPHATE BATTLE HOTS UP
The stand-off between hopeful phosphate miners on one side and the fishing industry backed by environmental campaigners on the other has intensified. An online petition organised by Earth Organisation Namibia, which is campaigning against marine phosphate mining in Namibia, called on the Namibian government to hold public consultations on the issue. Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP), which intends to mine marine phosphate off the coast south of Walvis Bay, issued a statement which dismissed environmental critics of its plans. NMP’s shareholding is made up of Mawarid Mining (Namibia) Pty Ltd (42.5 percent) and Sea Phosphates (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd (42.5 percent) both whollyowned subsidiaries of Mawarid Mining LLC (85 percent), an Omani company, and Havana Investments (Pty) Ltd (15 percent), a Namibian company in which Knowledge Katti is the leading figure. In 2011 the Ministry of Mines and Energy awarded mining licences to LL Namibia Phosphates and NMP but government placed a moratorium on phosphate mining in 2013. A cabinet committee comprising of fisheries, environment and mines ministry representatives has since been asked to investigate whether marine phosphate mining will harm Namibia’s marine life or if it can co-exist with fishing. The committee is expected to make recommendations on the way forward. Cabinet will then decide whether to approve the recommendations or not. The Namibian fishing sector, which is a N$5 billion-a-year industry, is strongly against the proposed marine phosphate mining. There are bans and moratoriums on seabed mining in New Zealand, the Northern Territory of Australia and Namibia owing to concern about the environmental impacts on the marine ecology. Those in favour of seabed mining claim that a Namibian phosphate industry would create thousands of jobs and help Namibia to reach its Vision 2030 target of becoming an industrialised country. Phosphate is mainly used in fertiliser production.
INDIA PUSHES URANIUM PLEDGE
With India keen to expand its supply chain of uranium for civil nuclear purposes, the issue figured prominently during talks between the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingob in June. Mukherjee was on a state visit to Namibia. Indian newspaper the Business Standard reported that India’s Secretary for Economic Relations in Ministry of External Affairs, Amar Sinha, said Namibia remains committed to a deal signed with India in 2009 to supply uranium for civil use. He added that a high-level team from India would soon visit Namibia to discuss the issue further. India needs uranium so that its nuclear power plants can meet the growing domestic energy demand. Namibia is the world’s fourth largest uranium producer. The hold-up in supplying India with uranium is partly due to Namibia’s concern that any deal does not conflict with international laws and treaties. Namibian is among 39 African nations that are signatories to the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty. The government is worried because India, despite pledging it only wants Namibian uranium for civil use, has a nuclear arsenal consisting of an estimated 110 nuclear weapons. The two countries also discussed ways to further enhance co-operation in the mining and exploration of other minerals including diamonds, zinc and marble. Mukherjee said during the state visit that India’s public and private businesses are ready to invest in Namibia’s mining sector using environment-friendly processes to back the country’s developmental goals. Fruitful economic exchanges between India and Namibia underscore the much larger potential waiting to be realised, he added.
MIXED NEWS FOR BANNERMAN
The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) has renewed Bannerman Resources’ Exclusive Prospecting Licence (EPL 3345) for its Etango uranium project. Previously, the MME said Bannerman must submit a plan for Namibian ownership, employment of previously disadvantaged Namibians and a broader corporate social responsibility strategy to ensure the EPL renewal. Apparently, this was required of all applicants seeking EPL renewals. The company submitted a proposal that included local ownership provisions that are consistent with the Mining Charter published by the Namibian Chamber of Mines. Bannerman’s EPL was renewed until April 25 2017. Despite its EPL progress, Bannerman received bad news on its mining licence application for Etango. The company has received been told the Minister intends to refuse its application for a mining licence, which was applied for in December 2009, citing the current low uranium price. Bannerman retains the right to reapply for a mining licence when the uranium market recovers. Bannerman’s Etango project is 30 km southwest of Rio Tinto’s Rössing uranium mine.