Swakopmund Matters calls for halting of deep see exploration lic

21 Jul 2015 19:20pm
WINDHOEK, 21 JUL (NAMPA) – Local environmental watchdog Swakopmund Matters has joined the international community in its call to halt the issuing of deep sea exploration licences, and for a moratorium on deep sea mining to be established.
Swakopmund Matters has endorsed the draft regulatory framework for deep sea mineral exploration by five international organisations to the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which was submitted on Monday.
The ISA, an intergovernmental body based in Kingston, Jamaica, was established to organise, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. With over 1,5 million square kilometres of ocean floor already under exploration leasehold in the Pacific Ocean alone, the ISA has approved 27 exploration licences for deep sea mining.
One of the organisations, the Centre for Biological Diversity is suing the government of the United States of America (USA) over the granting of exploration permits for the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the absence of environmental impact studies.
“Citizens from all around the world have joined civil society, non-government organisations and scientists in calling on the ISA to halt issuing of further exploration licences and to establish a moratorium on deep sea mining,” a media statement issued by Swakopmund Matters on Monday stated.
Swakopmund Matters quoted Dr Helen Rosenbaum of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign as saying there is insufficient scientific data about the impacts of deep sea mining. There are also no regulatory frameworks in place to govern mining operations; and the capacity to enforce such frameworks does not yet exist.
This landmark legal case will set a precedent for application of the precautionary principle, Rosenbaum said.
Meanwhile, on the local front, Government has urged LL Namibia Phosphate to create a platform to engage multiple stakeholders to discuss the highly contentious issue of phosphate mining.
The New Era newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze made the suggestion last Friday when LL Namibia Phosphate did a presentation on phosphate mining.
Kandjoze called on the mining company to engage his ministry, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to discuss the opposition to phosphate mining in some quarters, and, if it gets the go-ahead, its implications for the ecology of the marine area where the mining will take place at Lüderitz. He added that all stakeholders should look at ways to tackle the issue.
Cabinet decided on 17 September 2013 to impose an 18-month moratorium on marine phosphate mining.
President of the Chamber of Mines, Werner Duvenhage during the mining expo in May this year expressed concern that the moratorium had lapsed in March 2015 without much progress on the desired scientific studies to address concerns by the fishing industry.