Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990, following 75 years of control. The South-West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) became the governing party and has remained in power ever since. Whilst agriculture, manufacturing and tourism are all significant contributors to the country’s economy, the extractive industry and the subsequent processing and exportation of minerals has traditionally been the most significant economic contributor – responsible for around 10% of GDP in 2020. The country is however, struggling with reduced investment interest – a fact often attributed to uncertainty in relation to government policies and the regulatory environment.
Namibia is usually amongst the top five uranium producers in the world, with the two largest uranium mines in the country capable of producing around 10% of world uranium output. Namibia also has considerable diamond reserves and is one of the leading producers in terms of value of dollars per carat. Other mineral resources include copper, cobalt, lithium, lead, manganese, zinc, silver, gold and numerous industrial minerals such as cement, fluorspar and marble. Notable operators in the country include De Beers, which formed NamDeb – a diamond mining company and Debmarine Namibia – which conducts offshore diamond mining, both of which are 50:50 joint ventures with the Namibian government. De Beers signed a new 20-year agreement with Namibia in 2021 in relation to NamDeb’s operations – stabilising the country’s diamond mining sector for the foreseeable future.
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