Mining has been the biggest contributor to GDP after government services since the earliest discoveries of minerals in Namibia. The mining industry has played a significant role in the social and economic development of Namibia since independence in 1990. After Namibia gained independence in 1990, the country undertook to develop enabling mining laws to govern its mining industry. Namibia’s mining industry developed relatively early, based mostly on diamonds that were discovered at the turn of the century. The country is well known for its rich biodiversity and plentiful mineral reserves. The country’s economic growth is largely dependent on the mining sector such as the exploration and processing of mineral resources for export purposes to sustain its economy.
The need to establish mining laws was derived from the fact that the country’s economy relies heavily on mineral resources for national wealth. The mining industry is governed by among other laws, the Namibian Constitution, the Minerals Prospecting and Mining Act 33 of 1999, the Diamond Act 13 of 1999 and the Minerals Development Fund of Namibia, Act 19 of 1996. Additionally to the enabling legislation, in 2003, the Namibian government unveiled its minerals policy with the aim to supplement the available mining laws. The enactment of the minerals policy was aimed at boosting the potential of the mining industry of the country. The main Act which governs the mining sector in Namibia has failed to incorporate in itself laws to govern mining in protected areas. Premised on this omission, the National Policy on Prospecting and Mining in Protected Areas (NPPMPA) was born. The purpose of the NPPMPA is to regulate mining actives in protected areas.
This study argues that a policy has no legal power to compel compliance with its provisions as opposed to the rule of law. The study recommends that a mature and modern legislative regime for the mining sector (in particular mining in protected areas) to provide a clear line of responsibility and accountability for both the government and mining companies is required. The government should therefore look at incorporating most of the guidelines under the NPPMPA into law to enable the government to achieve the desired environmental protection and maintenance of the ecosystem.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2019.