Changes to Namibia’s mining legislation will not affect existing licenses and is not a step towards nationalism, a presidential representative says.
Last week the Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali said uranium, copper, gold, zinc and coal have been strategic minerals.
Under the changes, state-owned Epangelo Mining will have exclusive exploration rights.
President Hofikepunye Pohamba then stated in his State of the Nation speech that mining legislation will be brought in this year to ensure exploration and mining is carried out with the participation of the public sector.
The Chamber of Mines in Namibia said Minister Katali told the organisation that changes won’t affect existing mine licences.
"Held rights won’t be affected," a spokesman for the president told The Australian.
"It doesn’t mean the state-owned entity will have a controlling stake…it’s not a form of nationalisation."
Australian-listed miners in Namibia said last week that the government has continued to be supportive of their projects.
Paladin Energy mines calcrete in the region and Extract Resources is producing uranium.
Diamond miner De Beers Marine Namibia is 70 per cent owned by the private company and 30 per cent owned by Namibia’s Namdeb Diamond, the Australian reports.
A media conference is due to be held next week to discuss the issues.
“We are allowing for public participation to ensure benefits are accrued by the government," the spokesman said.
"The public entity must have a stake in future prospects. Existing allocated rights are not affected."
Image: Paladin Energy