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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Marine Phosphate Mining Not Granted Clearance Yet

Dear Friends,
I have great news.  After all of your hard work in sending letters to the Environmental Commissioner, he has referred the NMP Marine Phosphate Project back to the proponent and has not granted Environmental Clearance.  Commissioner Nghitila told Nampa on enquiry via e-mail on Wednesday that the EIA report has been referred back to Sandpiper due to inadequate consultations with all interested and affected parties, as required by the Environmental Management Act No. 7 of 2007, Section 33 (2) (a). Please see below for the full press release.

May this give you hope and encouragement knowing that your voice does make a difference!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

Thanks to all of you for your efforts!

-----Original Message-----
From: NAMPA [mailto:news@nampa.org]
Sent: 26 April 2012 05:46 PM
To: Linette Smit
Subject: (NAMPA) - No environmental clearance for Sandpiper yet


WINDHOEK, 26 APR (NAMPA) - Environmental Commissioner Theofilus Nghitila said no environmental clearance has yet been issued for the Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Project off the Namibian coast.

Nghitila was responding to claims by local environmental group “Swakopmund Matters” that the final Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the marine component of that project has been presented to him (Nghitila) before important role players and stakeholders have been given any opportunity to comment on it.

Swakopmund Matters maintains that these regulatory and prescriptive provisions may not have been followed and may even have been ignored, for whatever reason, raise serious and fundamental questions about the process and its lack of transparency.

“Strict adherence to all applicable prescriptions is required. Exceptions to that rule do raise undue questions and worries,” said the group in a media statement issued on Monday.

Nghitila told Nampa on enquiry via e-mail on Wednesday that the EIA report has been referred back to Sandpiper due to inadequate consultations with all interested and affected parties, as required by the Environmental Management Act No. 7 of 2007, Section 33 (2) (a).

“The public consultation and incorporation of comments from the consultation process forms the basis of which a decision could be taken.

Furthermore, the EIA report has been transmitted to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources for comment, as provided for under Section 44 of the said Act,” he explained.

Swakopmund Matters claim that the project will bring negative effects to the marine environment of Namibia.

The group then called on the public to join in the fight to prevent exploration there, stating that marine phosphate mining is not allowed anywhere in the world, and this would be the first.

The project will initially produce rock phosphate for marketing in Africa and other countries.

The deposit is situated 120 kilometres off the coast of Walvis Bay, and is owned by Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP), a joint venture between Namibia-based companies Minemakers (42.5 per cent), UCL Resources (42.5 per cent) and Tungeni Investments (15 per cent).

Phosphate sediments of approximately five million tonnes per annum will be recovered by dredging.

The dredging will be initially carried out at water depths up to 225 metres and later extended to 275 metres.

Swakomund Matters said the whole Namibian coast and possibly the whole Benguela region are the most productive and most biologically beneficial areas, and therefore the worst target area for pollution.

According to experts’ views, the whole issue has such serious implications that it requires intensive attention at both national and international levels.

The likelihood that such mining will be deleterious to Namibia’s fishing industry, especially for the important fish species such as stockfish, is substantial.

(NAMPA)

PC/ND

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