The Earth Organization is an international, independent, non-profit group which seeks to reverse the dwindling spiral of the plant and animal kingdoms and our environment through education and action.

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

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Swakop Uranium Environmental Impact Assessment Meeting On The Change of Tailings Facilities

For your information below, please note that there will be a public meeting regarding the changing of a tailings facility of the Swakop Uranium Husab Mine as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process.  Since tailings are full of radioactive and hazardous waste and chemicals, they are a major environmental and health concern over the long term.  It is important for the people to have a say in what gets done with these tailings and as a Registered Interested and Affected Party your comments must be considered in accordance with the Environmental Management Act.  If you are not already a Registered Interested and Affected Party, please become one by contacting:

Werner Petrick
Environmental Assessment Practitioner
SLR Consulting (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd

Email:
Mobile:
Tel:


Fax:

In addition, please be aware that there will be a public meeting by Swakop Uranium and SLR Consulting which any member of the public is welcome to attend.  Please see the details below from the proponent:

Dear Sir/Madam

As a result of the design optimisation phase of the Husab Project, Swakop Uranium has determined that the uranium recovery can be improved by grinding the ore to a finer size. Although the finer grind results in a higher uranium recovery, the tailings can no longer be disposed of as dry tailings. A dedicated tailings storage facility is therefore required.  This structure did not form part of the original Husab mine EIA, which means that an amendment is required. The finer grind has furthermore resulted in changes in the process and plant layout.

You have been identified as an interested and/or affected party (IAP) who may want to be informed about the proposed Swakop Uranium amendment and/or provide input into the environmental impact assessment process.

Attached is a background information document (BID) prepared by SLR Environmental Consulting (Namibia) for information-sharing purposes. In addition, two scoping meetings have been arranged to explain the proposed changes. The meeting details are:


Meeting in Windhoek
Meeting in Swakopmund
Date:
7 May 2012
8 May 2012
Venue:
Namibia Scientific Society
Robert Mugabe Ave. 110
Alte Brücke Conference Centre
Strand Street South
Time:
15:00
18:00

For any further information please contact the undersigned.

Regards,

Werner Petrick
Environmental Assessment Practitioner
SLR Consulting (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd

Email:
Mobile:
Tel:


Fax:

SLR Namibia
House Schumacher
6 Tobias Hainyeko Street
Swakopmund
Namibia

Monday, 23 April 2012

Press Release on Behalf Of Earthlife Namibia


Earthlife Namibia and the Goethe Centre invite you to 
the film Uranium Road (2008)

Documentary by Teaching Screens Production, Producers: Jenny Hunter, Mashile Phalane & Cati Weineck  (53 min)

The film rips away the veil of secrecy from both the past and the present South African nuclear programme, showing how the nuclear industry fundamentally undermines the democratic principles of the young democracy.  The film combines archival footage, interviews with local and international experts and tells the story of a community on the edge of a nuclear dump in scenic Namaqualand

The film is based on the book “Uranium Road” by Dr David Fig, an independent researcher on environmental policy matters, based in Johannesburg. He holds a PhD in international political economy from the London School of Economics.  

We are pleased to announce that David will be present during the film shows and will be answering questions.  

For more information please contact Earthlife Namibia at earthl@iway.na, Cell 081 29 38 085 or Tel: 061 22 79 13 or Goethe-Centre at info@nads.org.na or Tel: 061 22 57 00.

Please note the different venues and dates

Date: Wednesday, 25.04.2012
Venue: Goethe Centre, 1-5 Fidel Castro Street, Windhoek
Time: 19h15

Date: Thursday, 26.04.2012
Venue: Habitat Centre, 47 Claudius Kanduvazu Street, Katutura
Time: 18h00

Date: Friday, 27.04.2012
Time: 19h00
Venue: Swakopmund Museum, Roessing Hall

Friday, 20 April 2012

NMP Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Mining Issues and Commenting Periods

As many of you know marine phosphate mining is not allowed anywhere in the world and this would be the first in the whole world. Throughout the consultation process of the Sandpiper project, experts on the marine and terrestrial ecosystems have stated that there is sufficient evidence that there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to the environment if the Sandpiper Project were allowed to proceed. 
From the marine side, dredging of this nature will permanently destroy portions of the ocean floor which maintain the building blocks of the entire marine ecosystem. Small wildlife live there called meio and micro fauna, but studies on these species have not been conducted. In other words, species which have not even been identified yet will be killed off before we know them. There will be serious habitat destruction and sediment plumes which will threaten all life in the marine environment, including commercial fish stocks and the people that rely on these stocks being sustainable for their livelihood. Our Benguela Current ecosystem is well known as one of the richest marine ecosystems in the entire world due to the diversity of marine life that call it home. This ecosystem is a gift that has proven to support sustainable industry and jobs over the long term. Are we really prepared to destroy this for the short term gain of just an elite few?

On the land, the NMP project is looking to operate in two National Parks as well as inside of a municipal area to store and transport their heavy industrial waste full of radioactive and poisonous materials. This waste will remain on land, as dust in our air and in our underground water and marine environment long after the NMP closes it's doors. How will we handle this waste? How will the children and the environment suffer now and in the long term? Is it really our right to make a decision that will affect many generations negatively long into the future?

This project will certainly be at the detriment to the people and environment now and in the future. We should not be prepared to destroy it for a short lived unsustainable mining industry that will make a foreign company and a select few rich while destroying the natural riches of our country.

Please make it known that this project will be at a cost to the environment and society which you are not prepared to pay. Please go to http://www.envirod.com/ to view the two reports and PLEASE make comments on the two separate components as follows:

1. NMP Sandpiper project Final EIA Report for the Marine Component (17 April 2012). Comments due directly to the Environmental Commissioner, Mr. Teofilus Nghitila by email to tnghitila@yahoo.com or by fax to +264 61 240 339
by the end of Tuesday 24 April 2012. For further information please contact the Environmental Commissioner's office by phone at +264 61 284 2751.

2. Draft Scoping Report NMP Terrestrial Component (10 April 2012). Comments due to the consultants for the proponent, Enviro Dynamics Carla Saayman via fax: (061) 307-437 or e-mail: carla@envirod.com by the end of Wednesday 25 April 2012.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Commenting Period For Marine Component of NMP Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Mining Project

Please note that the commenting period for the Marine Component of the Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Project has begun.  To retrieve the report, please go to: http://www.envirod.com/draft_environmental_impact_report2.html You now have 7 days to comment directly to the Environmental Commissioner, Mr. Teofilus Nghitila at tnghitila@yahoo.com Please keep a copy of your comments for your records.

Uranium Film Festival


Please come and support the Uranium Film Festival about the hazards of uranium mining and nuclear power. Please see the schedule below for events and movies in Swakopmund, Namibia as organized by EarthLife Namibia and the Goethe Institute. For those wishing to find out more information about the recent monitoring conducted in Namibia by an independent engineer in nuclear physics from France (Bruno Charyeron), please attend the session on April 17, 2012 at 19h15 at the Bank Windhoek NPS Kultur Aula. Please note, the "Bank Windhoek NPS Kultur Aula" refers to the school hall of Namib Primary School.

Uranium Film Festival by Earthlife Namibia and the Goethe Centre  

Date: 17.04.2012
Time: 19H15
Venue: Bank Windhoek NPS Kultur Aula
Uranium - is it a country? Tracking the Origin of Nuclear Power (2008)
Documentary by “Initiative Nuking the Climate” (55 min)
The film takes a look at the footprints of nuclear energy and leads to Australia, where the Olympic Dam Uranium Mine is run by multinational corporation BHP Billerton. An indigenous resident speaks of the impact the mine has on the environment in which he lives. A French scientist researches radioactivity from nuclear sites and uranium transport.
The scientist is Bruno Charyeron, the Director of CRIIRAD (an independent research laboratory on radiation) in France.  He will be present during the film show and will answer questions regarding nuclear issues. Bruno Charyeron is an Engineer in nuclear physics and has expertise in the nuclear sector for more than 20 years, especially in the field of radiation detection and the impacts on environment and health through radiation.                   
____________________________________________________________________
Date: 27.04.2012
Time: 19h15
Venue: Swakopmund Museum, Roessing Hall
Uranium Road (2008)
Documentary by Teaching Screens Production, Producers: Jenny Hunter, Mashile Phalane & Cati Weineck (53 min)
The film rips away the veil of secrecy from both the past and the present South African nuclear programme, showing how the nuclear industry fundamentally undermines the democratic principles of the young democracy.  The film combines archival footage, interviews with local and international experts and tells the story of a community on the edge of a nuclear dump in scenic Namaqualand.
The film is based on the book “Uranium Road” by Dr David Fig, an independent researcher on environmental policy matters, based in Johannesburg. He holds a PhD in international political economy from the London School of Economics. 
We are pleased to announce that David will be present during the film shows and will be answering questions.  
________________________________________________________________________
Date: 05.06.2012
Time: 19h15
Venue: Bank Windhoek NPS Kultur Aula
The Poisonous Legacy of Uranium (2010)
Documentary by Dominique Hennequin
The film shows the many impacts of uranium mining by Areva in Gabon and Niger. Houses built with waste rock, radioactive rubbish dumped in rivers and lakes, soil contaminated by radioactivity and food not fit for consumption.  This is the environment local people live in, helpless and uninformed about the dangers.


Date: 03.07.2012
Time: 19H15
Venue: Bank Windhoek NPS Kultur Aula
Chernobyl Heart (2004)
Documentary by Maryann Leo
The world’s most horrific nuclear accident happened on 26 April 1986 in Chernobyl in the Ukraine. Still today many children are born with malformations and malfunctions. The film leads us through several children’s hospitals and homes for mentally and physically disabled children. These institutions were established after the nuclear accident. Medical doctors have a difficult task helping the effected children. The film shows the brutal and shocking reality of suffering following a nuclear accident.

For more information, please contact: 
Bertchen Kohrs, Earthlife Namibia

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Marine Phosphate Mining - Environmental Impact Assessment

As many of you may know, marine phosphate mining would be a disaster for the entire marine ecosystem off the coast of Namibia as well as for several vital industries and more than 15,000 jobs that rely on the marine ecosystem being sustainable and productive (fishing industry, salt works, etc). Marine phosphates pose a major danger to health because they are highly radioactive and marine phosphate mining has never been allowed anywhere else in the world because of the danger it poses to marine life. Local and international experts agree that this project should not go ahead, but yet this project continues to bulldoze it's way forward.

For those of you in Namibia, please attend the meeting on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the marine component of the Sandpiper Phosphate Project.

Date: Thursday, 12 April 2012
Venue: Pelican Bay Hotel, Walvis Bay
Time: 18h30
Please RSVP your attendance to carla@envirod.com

It is critical that we make our voices heard. Please pass this message on to others that may be interested or concerned.

Let us stand strong and united to protect Namibia, what many have called "a patch of heaven."

Thanks for your time and concern.

"A Cry For Help"

“I found this piece of wood that resembles a human hand, that seemed to be crying out for help, like someone that has been thirsting for water and has possibly seen a glimmer of hope – and extending its fingers, hopeful for some replenishment and life-giving substance. I believe nature is crying out to us as the original caretakers of creation, its animals, plant life, natural heritage, to save them from destruction and despair”- Michelle Swanepoel, the winner of the ‘Our Coast Your Photo’ competition in Namibia.  The purpose of the competition was to raise awareness on environmental issues, especially the threat of heavy industrial development on Namibia's coast.