Like Las Vegas, the mining town of Arandis plans to shake off its dusty past and become a shining gem in the middle of the Namib Desert. Formerly a dormitory town for the nearby mines, Arandis is gearing up to attract significant investment for multi-million dollar developments.
Entering Arandis from the highway, the signs of activity are obvious with buildings going up on both sides of the main road. Arandis has grown from a mining town into an industrious town that serves the uranium mines in the region. “Arandis is known for its close relation with the mining industry, but has much more to offer,” says the town’s chief executive officer Florida Husselmann.
“We see great potential in growing the town into an industrial hub that can serve the Erongo Region and which is centrally located between major industry, the ports and the hinterland. With the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) having its main campus here the town is also a centre of excellence for the furthering of education,” she notes.
Husslemann says the town’s desert landscape along with the proximity to large open pit mines, also open doors for niche-tourism in mining tours, eco-tourism, and desert adventure safaris.
“Arandis is situated outside the rust belt, in the heartland of the industrial region and sporting an excellent skills base,” says long-time NIMT Director Eckhart Mueller, who is passionate about the town’s development. NIMT is highly rated as a vocational training institution by the mines in the country. The institution has 3 000 students.
Some of the developments currently underway in Arandis include a three-storey hotel, a health centre and a shopping mall. Earlier, the town saw the opening of retail facilities, a large petrol station, schools and banking outlets.
Offering an alternative to the expensive coastal property markets, residential developers have flocked to the town to build houses. Namibian company Osho Living Park is building 120 low to middle-income houses in the town. The young entrepreneur behind the company, Tuna Willem, sees the potential in the town that she says has “the necessities that are in high demand in Namibia, of a safe, affordable living environment.”
Different property developers have also forwarded plans for 600 additional houses in the town, while there are plans to construct a power plant, a dry fishing plant, a mining museum, various accommodation facilities and an industrial park.
Residential development is one of the pillars in Arandis’ development strategy, notes Husselmann, who foresees a doubling of the town’s population over the next few years. “We have land in abundance and are able to develop it much cheaper than in other parts of the country, offering an affordable and prosperous living environment.”
“Exciting new areas we are looking to develop are renewable energy and a polishing factory for the minerals that are found nearby. With so many hours of sun and an abundance of minerals these are logical areas for development, showing that Arandis wants to add value locally and, in doing so, create jobs. An Investment Conference in 2011 put Arandis on the map as an investment destination of choice, resulting in several development projects,” said Arandis corporate services manager Aunie Gebhard.
The outcomes of the conference have been so positive that the town council has decided to organise a follow-up conference on April 25 to 27 to secure further financing for various projects.
The conference, which will be hosted by NIMT is to be enriched by a Mineral, Mining and Energy Expo, where exhibitors will showcase the latest products and services in the field.
“The conference and expo will promote Arandis as a centre of business growth and an excellent base for large and small companies active in the mining and energy sectors,” said Arandis mayor Daniel Muhura.
All two events will focus specifically on manufacturing services and establishing a supply industry for the mining sector, as well as establishing Arandis as the hub of educational excellence for vocational and science education.
[SOURCED: NEW ERA]