+27 71 448 3496

Namibia’s mining bonanza

Share Article
Canadian company B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine has consistently been delivering the goods, despite being a low-grade operation. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Namibia’s mining bonanza

Mining was the primary focus of the Namibian leg of WhyAfrica’s 42-day Southern Africa Road Trip. Namibia is fast becoming one of the favourite mining destinations in Africa, and I tried to fit in as many mining projects as possible.

By Leon Louw founder and editor of WhyAfrica

From the wild diamond coast of the Sperrgebiet, to the uranium laden desert of Erongo; the scorching gold belt of Damaraland and the flooded copper valley of Otavi; to the iron ore deposits at Dordabis and tin and lithium fields of the Brandberg – my mining boots got a royal workout.

Namibia’s mining industry is on a high as more exploration projects move into development stage. As Osino Resources prepares for first production at its Twin Hills gold project close to Karibib, established gold mining operations like QKR and Epangelo Mining’s Navachab and B2Gold’s Otjikoto continues churning out the ounces, while exploration companies like Antler Gold probes the Damara Belt’s deep hidden secrets even further.

Meanwhile, AfriTin is ramping up production at its magnificent Uis mine close to the Brandberg in Damaraland, which will elevate it to a top producer in Africa. AfriTin’s lithium resources are even more vast, and with new lithium exploration licenses in the pocket, keep an eye on this fast-moving company. Trigon Metals is attempting the impossible in trying to liberate water drenched copper at the historic Kombat mine in the north-eastern Namibia close to Tsumeb, while the jury is out whether Lodestone is sitting on a new iron ore hub at Dordabis close to the capital Windhoek.

Nevertheless, it’s the Namibian uranium miners that’s bringing out the bubbly right now, as Europe turns to nuclear in response to the energy crisis brought about by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. With the uranium spot price heading north, top uranium producer Langer Heinrich is knocking off the rust after being on care and maintenance since 2018. Paladin Energy has secured the necessary funding to restart Langer Heinrich by 2023, with a life of mine of 17 years.

Bannerman Resources’ Etango could potentially become the second biggest uranium mine after Swakop Uranium due to its large shallow resource base, while Norasa’s Valencia mine completed a definitive feasibility study in 2015. Deep Yellow’s Reptile project at its Tumas and Tubas deposits are still largely at exploration phase. Tumas was approved to proceed to definitive feasibility study stage.

The above projects all have the potential to transform the entire Erongo region into an industrial hub. In the same light, they have the potential to jump start the economy with much needed jobs in the shortest time.

Erongo now a mining hotspot (Namibia’s mining bonanza)

The Erongo Region has already become the mining hotspot in Namibia. When one drives from Swakopmund towards Karibib on the B2 in a north-easterly direction, you pass, within about 170km, two of the largest uranium mines in the world, a lead and zinc operation, a rare earth element (REE) exploration project, the oldest producing gold mine in Namibia, a lithium project, marble and aggregate quarries, and two gold exploration projects, one of which will be in production as early as 2024.

About 60km north-east of Swakopmund lies the Husab uranium mine, the largest open pit mine on the African continent and the second largest in the world. The mine is operated by Swakop Uranium and is majority owned by the China General Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC) of which state-owned Epangelo Mining holds 10%.

Close to Husab, the China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC) operates Rössing mine, one of the sixth largest open-pit uranium mines in the world.

A stone’s throw from Husab, a road signs indicates the location of Trekkopje, where Orano Resources’ uranium project has been on care and maintenance since 2005.

Namibia’s mining bonanza

Closer to the town of Usakos, Canadian listed E-Tech Resources’ second round of exploration drilling at the Eureka REE project has just been completed and Chris Drysdale, director of E-Tech Resources, is confident that the drilling samples will return positive results.

Although it is still very early stages, Eureka is an exciting prospect. There are other REE projects in Namibia, but E-tech Resources is focussed specifically on neodymium (Nd) which is used in wind turbines, electric vehicles, and a range of other applications. Drysdale is working with a formidable team of local Namibian geologists who are familiar with the conditions on the ground.

Drysdale is also the director of TSX listed Antler Gold, another exciting new prospect in the Erongo region. Antler’s license area, close to Karibib, lies adjacent to by now well-known Osino Resources’ Twin Hills project, which is expected to start producing gold as soon as 2024.

Osino has focused on five main targets and several satellite deposits and with geophysics and improved geological methods, defined a resource worth pursuing. When Osino starts producing, it will become the second active gold mine in the Karibib area, with QKR’s Navachab just down the road, being in operation since 1989 when AgloGold poured the first gold. As the race for gold in Namibia heats up, more companies are bidding for licenses.

Although the grades in this part of the world is low, technology has made extraction methods more efficient, and as B2Gold has proven at Otjikoto further north, it is possible to operate an extremely lucrative gold mine even if the grades are lower that the great gold mines in the world.

Not far from Navachab, Australian company Lepidico is hoping to turn the Karibib lithium deposit around. The mine, previously owned by Desert Lion Energy, never achieved the great results its shareholders were promised.

Before the proverbial gold rush, Karibib was perhaps best known for its high-quality marble deposits. The best marble mines are today mostly operated by Chinese outfits and still contributes to the local economy, although there are accusations of illegal operations. Most of marble is exported from Walvis Bay to Italy.

Namibia’s mining bonanza

Leon Louw is the founder and editor of WhyAfrica. He specialises in the extraction and responsible utilisation of natural resources, the primary sector of African economies and Africa’s political economy. 

WhyAfrica reports about, and publishes newsletters, magazines and research reports about natural resources and the primary sectors of African economies, and the infrastructure, equipment and engineering methods needed to extract and utilise these resources in an efficient, responsible, sustainable, ethic and environmentally friendly way, so that it will benefit the people of Africa.

Furthermore, WhyAfrica promotes Africa as an investment and travel destination, analyses the continent’s business environment and investment opportunities, and reports on how the political economy of African countries affects its development.         

WhyAfrica provides you with business intelligence that matters. Africa is our business, and we want it to be yours too. To subscribe to WhyAfrica’s free newsletter or digital magazine, and for more news on Africa, visit the website at www.whyafrica.co.za or send a direct message. WhyAfrica launched its first ever digital magazine in November 2021.

The company will undertake its annual road trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, the DRC, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya in 2023. If you are interested in sponsorship or advertising opportunities, please contact me at leon@whyafrica.co.za. We have a wide range of different packages and combo deals to give your company the greatest exposure to a rapidly growing, African readership.  

The 2022 Southern Africa Road trip issue of WhyAfrica’s magazine is now available in print. The magazine was distributed in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana during WhyAfrica’s 2022 Southern Africa Overland Road Trip, the company’s new and innovative platform. WhyAfrica has expanded its product range and now offers its readers, followers, advertisers, subscribers and partners the following:

  • Daily 24/7 online articles on WhyAfrica’s website (FREE)
  • Daily updates on WhyAfrica’s social media platforms (FREE)
  • Newsletters delivered to a handpicked audience every two weeks (FREE)
  • Two printed magazine per year distributed at large events and during our road trips across Africa featuring original, in-depth articles (FREE) with great, on-site photographs by the WhyAfrica team (FOR SALE UPON REQUEST)
  • Four digital magazines per year (FREE)
  • Live updates, video clips, articles, and podcasts during and after WhyAfrica’s annual road trips (Southern Africa in 2022, East Africa in 2023 and West Africa in 2024) (FREE)
  • Sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the annual WhyAfrica Overland Road Trips (PAID FOR)
  • A library where companies doing business in Africa can display scientific or research papers (PAID FOR)
  • A product section where companies doing business in Africa can display new offerings or services (PAID FOR)
  • Media partnerships with, and a presence at, most of the major conferences and exhibitions in the African mining, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, water management, ESG, environmental management, tourism, development, and conservation sectors (FREE)
  • WhyAfrica connects potential investors with new ventures in Africa and suppliers and service providers with existing companies in Africa (PAID FOR)
  • WhyAfrica assists companies in generating content focused on the wider African business community (PAID FOR)
  • Partnerships with companies doing business in Africa (PAID FOR)
  • Partnerships with companies thinking about expanding into Africa (PAID FOR)
  • In 2023 subscribers will have access to our in-depth articles about the African political economy, research, and country reports about the countries we visit on our road trips, and trends in the sectors that we cover (PAID FOR)
  • A WhyAfrica book is in the pipeline and if all goes according to plan, should be published towards the end of 2023 (PAID FOR)
  • The WhyAfrica consultancy arm assists and advises companies doing business in Africa through utilising our extensive global business network (PAID FOR)
  • Become part of the WhyAfrica community. Tell us your story. Expand your footprint across Africa and partner with us to make the most of your African experience. 

Namibia’s mining bonanza

Share Article


AgricultureEnvironmental Management & Climate ChangeEnergyESGInfrastructureMiningPolitical EconomyTourism and ConservationWater Management