Namibia granted 406 prospecting licenses for mining exploration in the first half of 2013 – a 53.8 percent increase over the same period last year – the Bank of Namibia said, according to a report in AllAfrica.
The increase was mainly reflected in licenses granted for exploration of precious metals, nuclear fuel, base and rare metals, the report said.
This was against a backdrop of relatively weak performance in the second quarter for Namibia’s overall economy, the bank said in a bulletin.
Activities in wholesale and retail trade improved. Agriculture saw increases in the number of livestock marketed, mainly as a result of drought.
Mineral production – Namibia’s primary industry – displayed “fragile performance,” the report said. Declined output for manufacturing was augmented by a decrease in electricity generation and less activity in construction, the report said. Tourism and transportation performed weakly.
Mining saw declined production of diamonds and gold, while production of uranium and zinc concentrate increased.
Diamond production decreased by 1.5 percent and 7.9 percent on a quarterly and annual basis respectively, to 422,933 carats.
Gold production declined by 3.1 percent and 37.3 percent to 410 kilograms on a quarterly and annual basis, respectively, during the second quarter of 2013. The quarterly decline resulted from lower grades mined, while the shortfall in annual gold production was due to operational challenges.
The production of zinc concentrate decreased on a quarterly basis, but rose on an annual basis due to the plant shutdown and improved operations, respectively. The production decreased by 7.6 percent to 27,223 tonnes during the second quarter of 2013.
Uranium production increased by four percent and 6.6 percent on a quarterly and annual basis respectively, to 1,385 tonnes, attributed to expansions at one mine, which increased production capacity.