Mines ministry demands more CSR investment from Miners

March 27, 2023

Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo has called for mining companies to step up their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, stating that current initiatives, while significant, are not sufficient.

The Minister emphasised that mining operations should not come at the expense of the environment and communities where the mining takes place.

Speaking at a community meeting at Uis, Alweendo said: "It cannot be correct for you to be a mining company which is profitable and you are deriving that profit in an area that is so underdeveloped, you are not prepared to be part of that community and assist."

The Namibian mining sector has been a major contributor to the country's GDP, accounting for over 10% of it annually.

However, in some instances, mining companies have been accused of neglecting their responsibilities to the communities they operate in.

Alweendo noted that many mining companies operate in impoverished areas, extracting resources and shipping profits out without reinvesting in the local communities.

"You are a mining corporation that is making good money and you are mining next to a community that does not have clean water or a borehole, but you cannot spend money to create a borehole for the community," he said.

While acknowledging the existence of CSR initiatives, Alweendo stressed that mining companies should do more to plough back into the communities they are involved in.

"Although corporate social responsibility is not an issue that is legislated, it does not have to be; for you to be successful as a company, you need to be part of that community, you need to be accepted in that community, you need to respect the traditions and culture of that community and become part of that community, that can be the only way sustainability, [and] long term can be achieved," he said.

According to data compiled by the Chamber of Mines of Namibia for 2021, the mining sector contributed 9.1% to Namibia's GDP while earning N$32 billion in revenues that year.

The sector also contributed N$3.4 billion to the government coffers in taxes, while spending N$223 million in CSR projects.

Despite these figures, Alweendo believes that mining companies could do more to support the communities they operate in.

"We are making a general call to say, for example, most of our mining, it so happens that they are usually in the under-developed areas, so it cannot be correct, for example, to be mining next to a community that does not have access to basic amenities like clean water," he said.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 28 March 2023 20:07

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