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Namibia Flooded with Exploration License Requests for Oil and Minerals

Namibia Flooded with Exploration License Requests for Oil and Minerals

Business Reporter

THE Ministry of Mines and Energy has announced that it will temporarily pause mineral rights and petroleum upstream license applications as the demand for these in Namibia has increased with the recent oil discovery and uptake in minerals to bring about cleaner energy.

To date, the Ministry of Mines and Energy has received 600 new applications for mineral rights and petroleum upstream licenses, creating a backlog. As a consequence, the Ministry of Mines and Energy is introducing a new approach to the application process for the different licenses within its mandate in pursuit of a more efficient and effective service delivery to the public.

New Licensing Window Period.

Isabella Chirchir, Windhoek Mining Commissioner within the Mines Ministry, said that the Ministry, throughout the years, has been receiving and accepting applications for mineral rights and upstream petroleum licenses under the open licensing system. “This method has, however, proven to be ineffective, especially with the recent demand for critical minerals and the discovery of oil and gas, which has led to an increased number of new applications received. The rate of accepting applications has, therefore, surpassed the rate of reviewing and awarding licenses, resulting in a massive backlog. This initiative will allow applicants only to apply for licenses at a certain period and give the Ministry ample time to review the applications. The public should note that this is only applicable to new licenses and not applications for renewals; and does not take away the legal processes and procedures of processing licenses as provided by the law,” Chirchir said.

In addition to this, the Mining Commissioner said that licenses that are currently under moratorium remain so until such a time the moratorium is lifted. She added that Exclusive Prospecting License (EPL), Reconnaissance License (RL), Mining License (ML), Mining Claim (MC), Petroleum Reconnaissance License (PRL), Petroleum Exploration License (PEL), and Petroleum Production License (PPL) applications will be processed with the above-explained new method. “The Ministry views the mining and upstream petroleum as important sectors of the Namibian economy and is, therefore, continuously looking at how to improve the management of these two sectors,” Chirchir concluded.

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