WALVIS BAY, 25 APR – Desert Lion Energy, an international company that owns a lithium mine outside Karibib, plans to establish a lithium processing plant in Walvis Bay.
This was revealed by the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Johnston at Walvis Bay on Tuesday.
Johnston was at the port to witness the loading of their first shipment of 30 tonnes of lithium to China.
Lithium is used in the production of batteries.
“Our aim is to add value to the products in the country, create more employment and grow the economy of Namibia. We cannot succeed as a company without the support of all the stakeholders,” he said.
He said the lithium shipment is the biggest ever to be exported from Africa.
Two more shipments are expected before the end of this year.
Responding to questions by Nampa on employment creation at the mine, Johnston said there are 100 employees of which 90 per cent are Namibians.
“This is because we also encouraged our sub-contractors to employ local people.”
He noted that five Namibian companies own 20 per cent of the shares in the company.
N$ 120 million was spent on developing the mine, which included the upgrading of the road to the mine.
Johnston noted that the pit they are currently working on has approximately 27 000 tonnes of lithium concentrate, of which 600 tonnes is mined every day.
“We are planning to increase the productivity to 280 000 tonnes a year.”
At the same event, Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua welcomed the idea of a processing plant, saying it is much needed.
“As a government, we want to remind all investors to focus not only on primary production, but also on secondary production,” he said.
Mutjavikua noted that even though social responsibility is important for investors, they also need to develop local capacity.
“Skills development for our young people in this country is what we need to see. Our products should not only be processed outside the country, we should learn to process it ourselves. If the Chinese can do it our young people can also do it,” he said.
The loading of the shipment started on Tuesday and is expected to continue for the next five to six days before the vessel leaves the port.