Oshana Regional Council denies mining at Otjiwalunda

29 Jul 2013 01:20
OSHAKATI, 29 JUL (NAMPA) – Chairperson of the Oshana Regional Council, Lotto Kuushomwa said no mining activities will commence at Otjiwalunda No. 2 in the Oshana Region’s Uuvudhiya Constituency before the completion of the environmental impact assessment (EIA).
Kuushomwa said this during a media conference he convened at Oshakati on Friday.
He pointed out that a company called Enviro Dynamics is responsible for carrying out the process of the environmental impact assessment.
“Currently the EIA is not completed and therefore no mining licence is granted, and all stakeholders, particularly the people residing around Otjiwalunda No. 2, are urged to cooperate and allow Enviro Dynamics to carry out the EIA unhindered,” Kuushomwa stated.
At the same time, Kuushomwa shot down allegations that some individuals or institutions might have sold the salt pan surrounding Otjiwalunda No. 2 for mining activities to a company called Gecko Mining Namibia.
An impression was created that the Otjiwalunda salt pan was sold to Gecko Mining Namibia, which holds 95 per cent in this mining venture, and only five per cent shares were allocated to the two traditional authorities of Uukwambi and Ondonga.
The two traditional authorities are said to have entered into this project under a company called Ondonga Uukwambi Mining Enterprises (OUME).
Recent media reports indicate that salt mining at the Otjiwalunda salt pan is not Gecko Mining Namibia’s priority, as the company is only investigating the trona deposits there.
Trona is used in the uranium extracting process.
The community surrounding the Otjiwalunda salt pan, however, opposed the mining of trona, arguing that no salt will be found at that pan once trona is removed.
Kuushomwa stressed that no mining licence was granted to Gecko and OUME yet. “The Exploration Exclusive Licence No. 4365 granted is only for exploration,” Kuushomwa pointed out.
He indicated that it is only the Ministry of Mines and Energy which sign all mineral licences, and this ministry has not yet done so until the Ministry of Environment and Tourism issue the environmental clearance certificate.
Representatives of both the community and Uukwambi Traditional Authority attended the media briefing.