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B&E International Namibiaboosts Oranjemund economy

Mining services company B&E International Namibia is reaping the benefits of Namdeb’s royalty remission programme after they were awarded a five-year contract in October 2022 to provide mining services at its Southern Coastal Mines.

This follows the government offering Namdeb royalty relief from 2021 to 2025, with the royalty rate during this period reducing from 10% to 5%.

Company director Shaltoe Watkins said over 200 positions need to be filled for the successful execution of mining services.
“These jobs vary from operators, supervisors, foremen, mechanics, and managers. To date, 90% of the positions have been filled, and the remaining outstanding positions have been shortlisted.”

Watkins said the company has since February spent over N$40 million in the local economy at Oranjemund, and the impact of its participation in the mining services tender extends beyond job creation.

Watkins said the company has actively engaged with local businesses at Oranjemund, with work contracted to local businesses including “the construction of a workshop inside Southern Coastal Mine” as well as the utilisation of local panel beaters and tyre shops.

“The weekly bonus being paid by B&E International to employees is also a stimulus to local businesses,” he said.

The company is currently constructing 120 accommodation units for employees, which has provided further employment opportunities for locals,with electrical work also being done by a local contractor, he said.

B&E International Namibia has been operating at Oranjemund since 1993. Watkins said the company’s track record of contributing to the community through sponsorships confirmed their commitment to continue a legacy of positive initiatives.

“Our contributions include the construction of two classrooms for the local government school, painting the exterior walls of the local government clinic, donating a high-spec microscope and 14 trophies to the local school, supporting the Independence Day celebrations, and providing sports apparel to the local junior rugby club.”
Meanwhile, Namdeb spokesperson Shangelao Ndadi shed light on the purpose and significance of the royalty remission programme, saying it is a collaborative effort between partners to establish an economically sustainable extended life of mine for Namdeb’s land-based operations.

Ndadi said without the remission, the prevailing economics would have led to the closure of Namdeb’s operations in the near term.

“The remission will enable capital to be invested in the operations, supporting a life of mine extension of up to 20 years. This will deliver substantial long-term economic benefit for Namibia, commercial benefit for Namdeb, continuity of employment for staff, more benefit for community partners, and an additional supply of high-value carats for the global diamond sector,” she said.

The approval of Namdeb’s new Long-Term Plan in October 2021, extending the life of Namdeb’s land-based operations from 2022 to 2042, has laid the foundation for these developments.

Ndadi said the extension of the life of the mine is not about the government supporting De Beers (as the other 50% shareholder) but rather about the two partners working together to establish an economically sustainable plan.

“Approximately 2 100 jobs (1 500 Namdeb employees, 600 contractors) at Namdeb were retained as a result of the life of mine extension. There is the potential for the creation of approximately 600 jobs for the required production activities,” she said.
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