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Namibia Reportedly Cracks Down on Chinese Firm's Lithium Exports, Orders Police Intervention

© Sputnik . Ruslan KrivobokCutting of the lithium metal ingot
Cutting of the lithium metal ingot  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 24.10.2023
The Chinese company has supposedly had previous run-ins with Namibian authorities. In October 2022, the Namibian government banned the company from exporting lithium ore to China, citing irregular shipments.
The Namibian government has taken action to stop the transport and export of lithium ore by Xinfeng Investments, a Chinese mining company, according to Western media. The government accuses Xinfeng of violating the country's ban on the export of critical minerals.
In a letter dated October 19, Namibia's Mines Commissioner Isabella Chirchir reportedly ordered National Police Commissioner Joseph Shikongo to stop all trucks carrying raw lithium ore from Xinfeng's Kohero mine, located about 250 kilometers northwest of the Namibian capital, Windhoek.

Chirchir explicitly stated that Xinfeng was "not allowed to remove any material from their mine to anywhere within Namibia or outside." She also ordered authorities to stop all trucks carrying lithium ore to Walvis Bay, the country's main port, and have them returned to the mine, according to the outlet.

Namibia previously banned the export of unprocessed lithium and other critical minerals in June. The move was aimed at encouraging local processing and capitalizing on growing global demand for metals used in clean energy technologies.
Workers pose outside a trading depot in the artisanal copper-cobalt mine of Kamilombe, near the city of Kolwezi in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 13.09.2023
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The country has significant deposits of lithium, which is critical for renewable energy storage, as well as rare earth minerals such as dysprosium and terbium, which are essential for permanent magnets used in electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines.
Xinfeng has run afoul of Namibian authorities in the past. Last October, the Namibian government banned the company from exporting lithium ore to China, citing irregular shipments. The Chinese company denied the allegations, saying it had sent a shipment of lithium ore to its headquarters in China for testing purposes related to the design of a lithium processing plant in Namibia.
In April, Namibia's Minister of Mines, Tom Alweendo, revoked Xinfeng's mining license and ordered the company to cease operations by May 31, accusing it of obtaining the license through irregular means. However, Xinfeng successfully challenged the Minister's decision in Namibia's High Court. The judge ruled that the Minister of Mines did not have the authority to revoke the license and should have followed legal channels to revoke the license.