Swakopmund — The Namibian mining sector contributed N$3.2 billion in corporate taxes and royalties to government in 2016. The figure excludes the Pay-As-You-Earn Tax (PAYE) and Value Added Tax (VAT).
This was said by Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Kornelia Shilunga at the official opening in Swakopmund last week of the Uranium International Conference organised by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). Shilunga said the mining sector - despite continuous low uranium prices - contributed about N$161 million in royalties, whilst N$1 billion was paid in wages and salaries in fiscal year 2016. Also, N$25 million was contributed toward social responsibility projects.
"Thus mining, especially uranium mining activities, significantly contributs to the development agenda of the government as expressed in our guiding tools, Vision 2030, the National Development Plan, as well as the Harambee Prosperity plan," he said.
"Namibia also benefits greatly from the N$2.8 billion sulphuric acid plant at Dundee Precious Metals smelter at Tsumeb. The mines require huge volumes of sulphuric acid, which is being transported via rail... which in turn means less reliance on imports, and more job opportunities," she explained.
Shilunga went on to say government recognised that presently the uranium market was depressed with serious implications for uranium mines, as public opinion had turned strongly against nuclear power generation, especially after the Fukushima event in Japan in 2011.
"However, great strides are being made in the generation of electrical power generation through alternative technologies, such as nuclear energy," she said.
The deputy minister added that countries, such as China, have clearly chosen the nuclear power option. China has embarked upon a major building programme of nuclear stations. "This will eventually impact uranium prices in a way that will not only benefit our uranium industry" but the whole country, she said.