Uis is a tiny town located in the western Damaraland region of Namibia. Tin has been mined in the Uis region since the early 1900s and the town was established in 1958 as a mine workers residence when a South African mining company started operations there and increased production. Today when approaching Uis, the first thing you see is a huge white mountain which is in fact the old mine dump for processed tin ore.
In 1991, the main mining operation closed down because the price of tin dropped far enough to make it un-economical. There is still minimal work progressing on the mine site today. Technology has improved enough to make it worthwhile to re-process the already excavated ore that was originally discarded and there is a tiny re-processing plant located near the old mine dumps. This ore is processed to an enriched state and then taken to Walvis Bay for export.
Uis is located in the shadow of the Brandberg Mountain, Namibia’s highest. The Brandberg is home to the world famous The White Lady rock painting, said by some to be over 20,000 years old. Being also situated on the main road between the coast and the Damaraland interior there is s reasonable amount of traffic and Uis manages to eke out an existence based almost entirely on this traffic passing through the area. There is a small supermarket, guesthouses, bakery and a petrol station, together with a few other small shops.
One product that Uis still produces is rocks and minerals. Namibia is well known as a mineral rich country and geologists come from all over the world to study in Namibia because much of the interesting geology and rare rocks are situated at ground level rather than on top of mountains or deep underground.