Kapwanga elected as Chamber of Mines president

WINDHOEK; Sakawe Mining Corporation Managing Director Kombadayedu Kapwanga has been elected as the new president of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia.

Kapwanga, who was first vice-president of the chamber, replaced Rossing Uranium Managing Director Werner Duvenhage who was president for the past two years.

Johan Kotze from QKR Navachab Mine was elected as first vice-president, while Hilifa Mbako from Areva Mining was elected as second vice-president.

The election process took place during the chamber’s 36th annual general meeting (AGM) in the capital on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening of the AGM, Duvenhage said the mining industry is on a growth path unprecedented in the history of independent Namibia.

He said the industry has created new jobs and is expanding the tax base of the fiscus with three new mines (B2Gold, Husab uranium mine and Tschudi copper mine) and re-investments into existing operations.

Duvenhage noted that in 2014, mining and exploration companies collectively employed 7 903 people in permanent positions.

The total direct employment, including temporary employees and full-time contractors, was 17 770, providing 1 061 more jobs than in 2013.

The outgoing president indicated that the mining industry spent some N.dollars 93.9 million on training and skills development in 2014, and awarded 40 new study bursaries.

He stressed that the mining industry continues to support the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) with job attachments and donations of used machinery for practical training at its three campuses in Arandis, Tsumeb and Keetmanshoop.

Duvenhage said the government has a major role to play and ensure the competitiveness of the industry by avoiding unreasonable tariff increases and introduction of new levies.

He stated that the mining industry remains the backbone of the national economy for years to come.

Duvenhage recognised the close cooperation between Government and the chamber in shaping policy and legislation, saying that the relationship enhances the country’s opportunity to attract more investments into new and current exploration projects.

“This is the only way we can ensure the sustainability of the mining industry. Through the activities of the joint Value-Addition Committee and current investments in upstream economic activities by some chamber members, the industry is poised to play a catalytic role in further mineral beatification and industrialisation,” he said.

He symbolically handed over the responsibility to his successor, while thanking the Chamber of Mines’ members and council and staff for their support during his tenure.

Duvenhage said he is hoping that the mining industry will continue to thrive as the key economic pillar for driving the socio-economic development in Namibia.