Chamber of Mines disappointed with Investors

The Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines, Veston Malango, is disappointed with some investors, saying while Government is welcoming and supporting international companies to set up energy generation projects, some investors don’t deliver. “To date Governments has issued 31 licences for PV Solar Power Projects and only a handful came to fruition,” he said this week in Swakopmund.
Malango was speaking at the symbolic groundbreaking of the new Trekkopje Solar Project, which took place at the Strandhotel in Swakopmund. While he congratulated the investors of this development, he lashed out at other companies who are not delivering. “Government is supporting renewable energy projects, is inviting investors to come onboard and has already granted 31 licenses. Where are the actual sites?” he asked.
He continued saying that so far he is aware of only a few projects, like the Omburu Solar Park and another one close to Otjiwarongo that have been developed, while one or two other projects are currently under construction. “These investors told government only after getting a license that they need a government guarantee,” he said, and continued: “They all of a sudden turn around. For the Chamber of Mines this is very frustrating. Government supported you, but you have broken that barrier.”
During his speech Malango also said that the national power utility NamPower should come to the table with the mining industry to solve the current, critical energy crisis plaguing the country. “There are alternative electricity generation options instead of importing expensive power from other South African countries,” he said. According to him the entire mining industry in Namibia has a combined, embedded generation capacity of almost 70 Megawatts. This consists mostly of generators and is used for emergencies or general power generation. “If you include the renewable energy projects, like wind and solar, this figure stands at 105 Megawatts,” he said.
Malango stated that this amount of electricity is available from the mining industry and can be used to supplement the countries, demand during crunch time. “It is our approach that with a bit of cooperation the mining industry can make this generation capacity available to NamPower, instead of NamPower having to import expensive electricity,” he said. For this to become a reality though, a few technical issues need to be sorted out. Malango did say that this idea is not new and has been on the table since 2007.
The Chief Executive Officer mentioned up a further bone of contention, saying that the mining industry is willing to invest in Namibia, but sometimes the government is not supportive, “which I do not understand.” In this regard he mentioned the establishment of a second desalination plant by the mining industry, but the application was declined by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. “We as the mining industry walk the talk. We from the Chamber of Mines have actually submitted a proposal for the establishment of a second desalination plant to supply the mines, but for reasons unknown to me this was not approved,” he said, and concluded: “Government ought to assist us, the mining industry.”

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