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Tensions between Chinese mining company & the Namibian government mount over lithium exports


According to Business Insider Africa, the government of Namibia has taken strong measures against the Chinese mining company Xinfeng Investments, over alleged law violations.

Indeed, Namibian authorities have asked its police to prevent the Chinese company from bringing lithium ore into the country or exporting it, claiming the Chinese miner has broken the law prohibiting the export of vital raw materials.

Environmental concerns have been mentioned among the major issues that the Chinese mining company faced. Indeed, Xinfeng has been accused of environmental damage in Namibia, including pollution of water resources and deforestation. For example, in 2018, Xinfeng was fined for polluting the Omuronga River with wastewater from its lithium mine.

Labor practices are another set of issues that the Namibian government had with Xinfeng Investments. It ought to be mentioned that Xinfeng has also been accused of poor labor practices, including paying low wages and providing unsafe working conditions. For example, in 2019, a Namibian court ordered Xinfeng to pay compensation to a worker who had been injured on the job.

Furthermore, Some Namibians believe that Xinfeng is not sharing the economic benefits of its operations fairly with Namibia. For example, in 2020, the Namibian government announced plans to introduce a new tax on lithium exports, which would have increased the amount of revenue that Xinfeng pays to the government. However, Xinfeng opposed the tax, and the government eventually dropped the plans.

Some Namibians also believe that Xinfeng has too much political influence in Namibia. For example, in 2021, Xinfeng was accused of bribing Namibian officials to secure a contract for a new lithium mine.

In 2021, the Namibian government revoked the mining license for Xinfeng's lithium mine at Otjozondu. The government argued that Xinfeng had failed to comply with the terms of its license. Xinfeng has challenged the decision in court, and the case is still ongoing.

The Namibian government has also accused Xinfeng of underpaying taxes. In 2022, the government demanded that Xinfeng pay an additional $100 million in taxes. Xinfeng has refused to pay, and the dispute has led to a freeze on Xinfeng's exports of lithium.

The tensions between Namibia and Xinfeng have had a negative impact on Namibia's economy. The lithium mining industry is a major source of revenue for Namibia, and the freeze on Xinfeng's exports has led to a loss of jobs and tax revenue. The tensions have also tarnished Namibia's reputation as a destination for foreign investment.

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