Two of Africa’s most political stable and mineral rich countries have told Paydirt’s Africa Downunder Conference that they see mining growth ahead, while a third nation said it was reviewing its legislation to allow uranium exploitation next year.
Author: Ross Louthean
Posted: Friday , 07 Sep 2007
PERTH - Abraham Lilende, chief geologist for Namibia's Ministry of Mines & Energy, said there had been a major leap forward in uranium production with commissioning of Paladin Resources' Langer Heinrich mine and the major lift in exploration activity was showing up further potential.
Diamond production from onshore and marine alluvials has been steadily rising and there was now scope for kimberlite deposits in the country's far north.
In a separate presentation, the Permanent Secretary of Botswana's Ministry of Minerals, Energy & Water. Dr Akolang Tombale, said the country continued to evolve an "enabling investment climate" to ensure ongoing expansion of diamond exploration and mining.
"Diamonds are the main contributor - about one third - of government revenue in Botswana and over 80% of our foreign exchange is earned by diamond exports," Dr Tombale said.
"Significantly, over 95% of Botswana's total revenues are derived from diamonds.
He said the country has moved to an investment climate where there is no restriction on the repatriation of profits, exchange controls have been abolished, taxation regimes are low and "our mining legislation is transparent and predictable."
Diamond production in 2006 rose to 34.3 million carats, while diamond sales generated $US3.015 billion.
Dr Tombale said the immediate term outlook for Botswana's diamond sector lay with the commissioning next year of the Lerala mine by DiamondEx, and the anticipated commissioning a year later of the AK6 mine.
Zambia's Mines & Mineral Development Minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa said a formal uranium mining policy should be in place by the end of the year - to encourage greater exploration for uranium.
Dr Mwansa, said no mining licences for uranium had yet been issued in Zambia but that situation would change by early next year.
"A number of uranium prospecting licences have been issued to service some current such activity in the southern part of the country," Dr Mwansa said.
"The Government is, however, still finalising our policy on uranium in line with International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines," he said.
"Whether uranium or many of the other mineral commodities (are found) in Zambia, we want to extend large-scale mining to all nine provinces in Zambia," he said.
Zambia's potential "is enormous. Only 55% of it has been geologically mapped. "We are committed to establishing a private sector driven mining economy which can lift mining's contribution to 20% of Zambia GDP from 12% currently," he said