Namibia - Country Commercial Guide
Mining and Minerals
Last published date:


Mining, Namibia’s leading economic sector, accounts for roughly 10 percent of Namibia’s GDP every year.  Historically, diamond mining has been the leading sub-sector of Namibia’s mining industry.  NamDeb, a 50:50 joint venture between the Namibian government and De Beers, is the primary land-based diamond mining company.  Debmarine Namibia, also a 50:50 joint venture between the Namibian government and De Beers, handles offshore diamond mining.

Namibia is the world’s fourth-largest producer of uranium oxide.  The nuclear industry continues to fuel the demand for uranium.  In 2018, the Husab open-pit uranium mine produced 3,028 tons of uranium oxide, making it the third-largest uranium mine in the world.  Husab is owned by a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Company.  The Rossing Uranium mine, also situated in the Namibian desert, is the fifth-largest producer of uranium oxide in the world.  The mine contains the largest uranium deposit in the world associated with an igneous rock, and is majority owned by China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC). 

Namibia is also a producer of zinc.  There is one operational mine Rosh Pinah (owned by various shareholders, with Exxaro Base Metals owning the largest interest at 46 percent), while the Skorpion Zinc mine (owned by Vedanta Resources) is under care and maintenance due to electricity supply challenges.  Lodestone, a mining company with U.S. shareholding, is extracting iron ore deposits in eastern Namibia.  The Lodestone Dordabis mine, the first operational iron mine in Namibia, commenced production in 2015.  The magnetite and hematite products are being sold to local niche consumers, such as Ohorongo Cement.  Local sulfuric acid and iron ore production are consumed as inputs by Namibian operations, exemplifying how mining sector growth leads to the expansion of up-stream and services sectors.

Namibia is a promising source country for critical minerals.  The country has the potential to develop new mining projects for cobalt , lithium, and rare earth elements.  Global lithium exploration and development company Lepidico Ltd. is developing a lithium mine in western Namibia and is in discussion with multiple U.S. companies on possible off-take for its lithium as well as by-products cesium and rubidium, which the U.S. Department of Interior lists as among the 35 minerals critical to national security.  Desert Lion began shipping lithium ore in 2018, with a first shipment of 30,000 tons.  Gecko Opuwo Cobalt is developing a cobalt deposit in Kunene Region.

In June, the Namibian government announced a ban on the export of unprocessed lithium and other critical minerals as the country seeks to profit from growing global demand for metals used in clean energy technologies.  Namibia is one of the top global producers of uranium and gem-quality diamonds, but its stock of critical minerals, including rare earth elements, is attracting growing interest as the world undergoes an energy transition towards renewable energy and associated battery storage.  Through the ban, the government hopes to force international firms to establish battery metals processing plants to drive employment opportunities for locals.  Most experts foresee a reversal of this ban because Namibia does not have the energy infrastructure currently, nor the human capital and other inputs required to grow manufacturing capacity and downstream industries.

In 2022, Namibia announced a significant find of REEs on a farm in north central Namibia.  With a proven ore body of 579 million tons and a cut-off grade of 0.02 to 1.00 percent of REE-bearing materials, prospects seem highly positive.  Namibia is keen to partner with U.S. investors and off-takers.  The Namibian mining industry is well-developed and sophisticated, and the government has prioritized attracting more FDI to the mining sector.

Other large mining operations include:

Mining CompanyOwnershipProduct
Weatherly Mining NamibiaWeatherly International*Copper mining
Okorusu FluorsparSolvay FluorFluorspar (CaF2)
Otjosondu Manganese mineShaw River ManganeseManganese
NavachabAngloGold AshantiGold
B2GoldOtjikoto MineGold
Desert Lion EnergyDesert Lion Energy, Inc.Lithium
Gecko Opuwo CobaltGecko Namibia, Pty.Cobalt


Namibia’s Mining Policy is governed by several laws, including the following:

Minerals Policy to ensure the continued sustainability of the industry and its contribution to Namibia’s socioeconomic development.