SWAKOPMUND – The University of Namibia (UNam) plans to establish marine engineering and mining training institutions at the coast.
The School of Marine Engineering and Maritime Studies will be established in Henties Bay where an eight hectare piece of land was donated by the municipality.
The Centre for Mining and Metallurgical Research and Training will be established in Arandis, where the town authority has availed land worth more than N$4-million.
Speaking at the announcement of the university’s plans for the institutions in Swakopmund, former president of Namibia Sam Nujoma said science and technology education as well as research are the engines that drive socio-economic development and growth. He said this is done through sustainable and responsible utilisation of Namibia’s mineral resources.
“I strongly believe that it is possible for the blue economy to contribute more to the achievement of Namibia’s sustainable development goals, but only if accompanied by massive requisite capacity building through skills development and upgrading,” he said.
Nujoma said the mining centre will provide skills upgrade training to mining personnel and will be a centre of excellence in research towards mining, metallurgical engineering and technology, with a focus on mineral beneficiation.
The centre will also focus on mine geology, mining health and safety, recycling and waste disposal in mines.
As for the marine and maritime institute, Nujoma said it will provide quality higher education and training beyond what is currently being offered by the Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute at Walvis Bay.
This institution, he said, will also promote research and development strategies and improve human resources development to address the existing skills gap in the fishing sector.
UNam vice-chancellor professor Lazarus Hangula said the aim is to bring institutions closer to the industries so that professionals who can add value to natural resources can be trained at home.
He said the mining and fishing industries have been asking for such institutions at the coast. “We can establish another marine and maritime centre in Walvis Bay if the municipality can assist us with the land.”
He stressed that these developments cannot be achieved by UNam alone; there is a need for partnerships with the private sector.
Coordinating director for the mining centre professor Osmund Mwandemele said the two institutions will uplift the socio-economic development of the towns.
“Just like we did by establishing similar centres in Ongwediva and Keetmanshoop, I can assure you today that these projects will be established, it is not just a matter of talking,” he said.