OMARURU, MAY 19 — The youthful constituency councillor of Omaruru constituency in Erongo region Erenst Wetha blasted and criticised the recent decision by the Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, to revoke the mining license ML 243 belonging to a Chinese company Xingfeng Investment calling the decision anti-development and direct affect the youth unemployment in his Constituency which he said they are trying to address as politicians.
The Lithium mining is situated at Farm Kohero in Omaruru Constituency and its closers have sent shockwaves through the local community of Omaruru town and its surrounding communal settlements.
“This move has also raised concerns about the negative impact on the town of Omaruru, particularly the loss of approximately 250 direct and indirect jobs, at a time when Namibia’s youth unemployment rate remains high” Wetha stressed.
“The revocation also jeopardizes ongoing negotiations for a long-term twinning agreement between Omaruru Town and Tang Shan People’s Municipality in China, which would have fostered cooperation in various areas of development,” Wetha said.
The constituency councillor also counted the fast development during the Investment period of Xingfeng Mining’s operations, that Omaruru experienced significant economic growth such as local businesses, including retail shops like Spar Omaruru, Woermann Brock, Shoprite, and Agra, witnessed increased revenue.
The two Shell service stations in the town also benefited from the mine’s presence. Furthermore, Wetha also said that street vendors in Omaruru saw improved business opportunities too.
“The overall economic movement and development of the town were on an upward trajectory due to the mining activities until the minister’s ill-considered decision,” he said.
The Omaruru Constituency Office and Omaruru Municipality were actively engaged in negotiations with Xingfeng management regarding a long-term twinning agreement with Tang Shan People’s Municipality in China. This agreement aimed to foster cooperation in various areas, including politics, education, health, economic development, urban and regional development, housing, road infrastructure development, and energy and mining. Such a comprehensive development agenda would have benefitted the entire community, prioritizing communal progress over individual gains and I am now afraid that the minister’s decision might reverse all this development.
Wetha also voiced his concerns that his leadership and that of Omaruru Municipality are shocked and deeply disappointed over the lack of consultation by the Ministry of Mines and Energy regarding the revocation decision.
He also noted the detrimental effect on the proposed development projects and long-term plans for the area. Moreover, the decision also disrupted an agreement made in October 2022 to upgrade the Okombahe-Omaruru gravel road to a bitumen status.
While sympathizing with the plight of Daures Constituency and Uis residents, it is essential to recognize that the developmental and political dynamics of Omaruru and Uis differ significantly in terms of their development agendas. The revocation of the mining license in Omaruru is seen by some as a form of individual political sabotage.
The decision has already caused a negative economic shift for both Omaruru and Daures Constituencies, affecting the livelihoods and aspirations of local inhabitants, the statement further read.
In conclusion, Wetha called the minister to reverse his decision saying simultaneously, efforts should be made to explore other avenues for development and address the broader developmental aspects of our country, minister of Mines and Energy could not be contacted for comments as his phone rang unanswered,
According to sources that the matter is at the moment under High Court and its hearing will be on 24 May 2023
– Namibia Daily News