‘Mineral wealth key to green energy’

Tom Alweendo

Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo stressed the importance of critical minerals to sustain energy transition and drive the economy and people.

He was speaking at a discussion forum on critical minerals in Namibia’s energy transition.The forum was held at the NamPower Convention Centre this week and questioned Namibia’s ability to keep up with the move.

“As we progress on the energy transition, we are starting to realise that we need critical minerals to support and sustain this transition.

“The trend towards greener and decarbonised value chains and the net-zero emission goal have triggered a global interest in the exploration, mining and processing of critical minerals,” he said.

Alweendo said there is a need for a globally coordinated effort to ensure the sustainability of critical minerals supply chains.
He raised concern over whether Namibia has enough critical minerals to satisfy global demand.

The Economic Association of Namibia (EAN), in a statement says the minister also emphasised the importance of Namibia’s minerals in driving economic growth and development.

Also speaking at the event was Zenzi Awases, the managing director of Empowermine Consulting Services. She said although the energy transition is the solution to the challenge of global warming, it also presents a unique challenge.

“There’s a geographic imbalance on how critical the global warming challenge is. The issue here is that the abundant reserves of minerals crucial for the energy transition are found in developing countries of the global south, like Namibia.

“These minerals power electric vehicles and clean energy technologies, driven by demand from the global north, while the environmental and social impacts of the extraction of these fall on developing countries like Namibia,” she said.

Awases said although these geographic imbalances pose a challenge, they also provide opportunities for Namibia to leverage resources for a clean energy future.

“Namibia holds rich potential for mineral discoveries, despite being relatively unexplored.”

Lauren Graham, the chief economist of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, at the event said we need to be mindful that Namibia is also a “carbon zinc, meaning we use more carbon than we think”.

She emphasised the importance of having the necessary technology and expertise necessary to aid in the processing of critical minerals.

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