Moratorium placed on phosphate mining

18 Sep 2013 08:30
By Carike Freygang
WALVIS BAY, 18 SEP (NAMPA) – All activities concerning phosphate mining have been put on hold, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) said on Wednesday.
Bernhard Esau told Nampa here that a submission made by his ministry to place an 18-month moratorium on deep-sea phosphate mining activities offshore Namibia was endorsed by Cabinet on Tuesday.
Such mining cannot happen if there is no certainty on what impact these phosphate mining activities could have on the environment, he stated, adding that two companies were in an advance stage of obtaining licences to mine phosphate.
However, in order to obtain such a licence, an environmental clearance certificate from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) is required.
The minister added that there must be solid proof that these mining activities will not impact the environment negatively.
“The MFMR will now have to go back to the drawing board to conduct a scoping study, and determine the terms of reference for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study,” he noted.
Esau said his ministry indeed needs to exploit resources and develop Namibia, but this must be done in the spirit of the co-existence of mining and fishing at the same time.
“Before the end of this month, we will be signing an agreement with regards to the carrying-out of the scoping study.
This study will be carried out by an independent institute and in collaboration with the relevant experts from the line ministries – the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and MET,” he noted.