Founding President Nujoma humbled by naming of mining vessel in his honour

Value adding to raw mineral resources and innovation in the mining sector were singled out yesterday as the critical factors for Namibia’s mining industry to stay competitive and to meet the country’s development goals.
These statements were made at Walvis Bay respectively by Namibia’s Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma and the Minister of Mines and Energy Mr Obeth Kandjoze at the christening ceremony of Debmarine Namibia’s newly-built diamond sampling and exploration vessel, the SS Sam Nujoma.
The christening ceremony was hosted at Walvis Bay for logistical reasons as Lüderitz, the vessel’s home-base is very remote and many would have had difficulty to attend.
It turned out that even in Walvis Bay, there were logistical challenges. The CEO of De Beers Group, Mr Bruce Cleaver could not attend this milestone moment, as extreme foggy conditions made it difficult for his plane to land in Walvis Bay and was then diverted to Eros Airport in Windhoek.
“I remain and ardent believer that one of the critical factors in the achievement of Namibia’s national development agenda is through the beneficiations of our mineral resources”, Dr. Nujoma said in his keynote address.
There is no content any longer for mining companies to simply invest, extract and export, said Dr. Nujoma. Adding: “we seek to get more value out of our natural resources, both directly and indirectly through shareholding in these mining ventures and greater value addition by processing these raw materials further down the value chain before exporting”.
Dr. Nujoma, who at several instances expressed his humble appreciation for the new mining vessel named in his honour, also cautioned that the development of Namibia’s youths is critical for national progress. The Founding President applauded Debmarine for purposefully growing Namibians for jobs in the marine diamond sector.
Minister Kandjoze in his address said innovation is critical for the mining industry to keep abreast of best practises to optimise production output and to grow financially through cost optimisation.
“….there is a consensus that it is true innovation that will drive the next wave of productivity gains and financial growth. If we do not follow the innovation route, our extractive resources will become a curse instead of a blessing”.
Minister Kandjoze acknowledged the difficulties the mining sector currently faces. “The Namibian mining industry in particular is going through one of the most intense periods of change we have ever seen. The ability to innovate, to evolve, to adapt and improve is indispensable. Long gone are the days where you can peg a claim and try your luck with pike and shovel”.
The acquisition of SS Nujoma by Demarine at a price tag of N$2,3 billion is one of the examples of innovation that would benefit Namibia’s marine diamond mining sector. The vessel can operate cost efficient due to latest technology. It also uses a range of unique technologies to sample faster, accommodate larger samples and collect more information per sample run than any other diamond sampling vessel.
The vessel also created 130 direct new jobs, mostly filled by Namibians.

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