Moratorium on mining activities remains unchanged: Esau

10 Apr 2014 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 10 APR (NAMPA) – The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau says his ministry has not changed its position regarding the moratorium on marine mining activities in the country.
In September last year, Cabinet decided to place a moratorium on marine phosphate mining to enable the line ministry to conduct a strategic environmental assessment.
Esau said in the National Assembly (NA) here on Wednesday that his ministry remains resolute in its commitment to ensure that proper scientific investigations are carried out which will allow the government to make an informed decision about the future of marine phosphate mining in Namibia.
The minister said the substantial body of information which will be collected during the moratorium period will provide an indication as to whether the marine ecosystem will be impacted by such mining.
“This information will also guide the ministry as to whether the marine phosphate mining and fishing industries can co-exist,” he said.
The ministry has in the meantime contracted an independent company from Norway to carry out the scoping study for the strategic environmental assessment and build the capacity of Namibians in this area.
Esau noted that his ministry has set up a secretariat at its research institute at Swakopmund, which will be the ‘liaison heart of the project’.
The minister maintained that his ministry is resolute in its position with regards to the moratorium, and is determined to protect the Namibian living marine resources and conserve the marine ecosystem as per its mandate.
“The ministry is concerned that the removal of the soft sediment along with all the living animals and the suspension of fine sediment into the water may impact the functioning of the marine ecosystem negatively,” Esau pointed out.
He indicated that these were just a few of the many concerns to which the ministry wishes to seek answers before endorsing marine phosphate mining.