WINDHOEK, 01 JUN – The mining industry expects the University of Namibia (UNAM) and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) to complement each other and avoid duplication of training programmes.
This was said by the Chamber of Mines of Namibia’s first Vice President, Hilifa Mbako during a stakeholder conference on the establishment of UNAM’s Centre for Mining and Metallurgical Research and Training here on Thursday.
The university last year announced that it plans to establish the centre at Arandis, where the town authority has availed 8 000 hectares of land worth more than N.dollars 4 million.
Mbako said such duplication would affect already meagre government resources and could be a serious issue in a small economy like Namibia’s, especially with expensive programmes.
He said it could lead to “irrational competition and wasting of resources.”
“In a small economy, it makes sense to combine efforts and produce strong programmes in the respective institutions… We must not waste taxpayers’ money that could be applied to other national development projects,” he said.
Mbako further said the mining industry is demand driven and student output should be in accordance with industry needs.
“It won’t make sense to produce 100 geologists, mining engineers and metallurgists when the industry needs only six graduates every year,” he said.
He said the mining industry is already struggling to absorb mining and metallurgical engineering graduates and some geologists are currently out of work, which is a concern.
The two-day meeting started Thursday and was amongst others attended by representatives of Debmarine Namibia and Swakop Uranium.
Discussions also focused on links in the mineral value chain and required research and training that the centre can undertake to address mining sector challenges in Namibia and the Southern African Development Community region and the significance of skilled human capital, research capacity and infrastructure for environmental monitoring in mining operations.