Mining firms in losses

Windhoek – The majority of mining companies in Namibia that declared their results made a combined loss of over N$2.4 billion in 2014, while the few that publicly disclosed their earnings for the year in review made total profits of just a little over N$460 million.

This is revealed in the Chamber of Mines of Namibia’s Annual Review 2014 report, which highlighted 17 mining companies that are either Namibian-owned, foreign-owned or jointly owned.

Areva Resources Namibia near Swakopmund in the West seems to have been the biggest casualty, making a loss of N$1.16 billion, followed by Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb (formerly Namibia Custom Smelters) in the northern part of the country, which made a loss of N$463 million last year and Langer Heinrich Uranium located in the west, with a N$417.5 million loss.

Sakawe Mining near Luderitz in the south, made a loss of N$223 million; Rio Tinto (situated in the west) made a loss of N$91 million while Weatherly Mining Namibia based at Otjihase in the north also made a loss of N$69 million.

Skorpion Zinc recorded the best results with a profit of N$329 million for 2014, followed by Navachab Gold Mine, which made good on investment with a profit of N$132 million, while Salt and Chemicals settled for N$2.71 million.

The chief executive officer of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, Veston Malango attributed the setbacks on depressed commodity markets, which continued to hamper the local mining industry, resulting in reduced production and restructuring of some mining operations.

He said that the mining industry contracted by 4.6 percent as a result of reduction on overall output, particularly uranium.

“Unfortunately, the uranium market did not improve in 2014 and bottomed out at the end of June 2014, posting a nine-year low of US$28.5 per pound,” he added.

However, mining companies in Namibia made a combined investment of over N$820 billion in 2014, with Namdeb Holdings leading with the biggest chunk of N$814 billion in investment.

Next was Swakop Uranium which is under construction, which invested N$11 billion, followed by Dundee Precious Metals with had a fixed investment of N$1.35 billion for the year in review.

The other big mining investors during 2014 included Weatherly Mining, Skorpion Zinc and Sakawe Mining that invested N$474 million, N$287 million and N$113 million, respectively.

In addition, a number of mining exploration companies spent over N$124 million on exploration last year.

Craton Mining and Exploration, which is owned by Base Metals of Australia, spent N$39.2 million on exploring copper last year, while Reptile Uranium Namibia utilised N$17.2 million to drill and ground radiometric surveys.

Bannerman Mining Resources conducted exploration work for N$17.05 million, while other mining exploration companies included Kunene Resources which spent N$16 million and Gecko Mining used N$13.38 million on exploration.

“The Namibian economy continues to reap the benefits through the development of new mines and reinvestments made by mining companies, signifying a vote of confidence in Namibia’s mining sector being the best in Africa, followed by Botswana,” said President of the Chamber of Mines, Werner Duvenhage.

June 2015
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