Not much known about phosphate mining: World Bank

29 Apr 2016 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 29 APR (NAMPA) – Local environment lobby group, Swakopmund Matters has thrown its weight behind a new World Bank report that warns that little is known about the social and economic benefits of deep sea mining.
In a media statement issued on Friday, the group called on prospective phosphate miners to take President Hage Geingob’s recent remarks seriously when he stated that the environment is part and parcel of Namibia’s foundation of democracy, peace and stability.
Geingob delivered a statement during the signing of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York last week, where he said the protection of the environment is enshrined in the Namibian Constitution.
“Those in Namibia who have to decide on any aspect of marine phosphate mining will be well advised to take the wise words of the President fully into account and furthermore take note of the timely warning the World Bank has issued. Up to now, those so eager to be involved in marine phosphate mining have yet to produce convincing evidence about the full scope of the environmental and social impacts of their enterprise,” the activists cautioned.
They also called upon such ventures to demonstrate that the appropriate fiscal regime and economic benefit to deep sea mining are “clearly understood and accepted by major stake holders, such as the fishing industry.”
The report is titled ‘Pacific Possible: Precautionary Management of Deep Sea Mining Potential in Pacific Island countries’.
“Work in this space is already progressing in many countries, and progress has been made in legislation, but strengthening and increasing institutional capacity still remains a significant challenge and therefore we recommend stronger regional cooperation in this area,” Tijen Arin, a co-author of the report and senior environmental economist at the World Bank, was quoted as saying in the statement.
The report takes stock of what is known and unknown about deep sea mining – its costs, impacts and potential revenue – and highlights the need to develop both the evidence base for informed decisions and appropriate governance structures.
Meanwhile, the Namibian Government imposed a 18-month moratorium on marine phosphate mining which was declared on 17 September 2013 and lapsed in March 2015. The moratorium has not yet been lifted.