Shifeta threatens to terminate mining licences

20 Jul 2016 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 20 JUL (NAMPA) - Minister of Environment of Tourism Pohamba Shifeta has threatened to revoke the mining licences of companies that do not comply with local environmental laws.
Shifeta issued the stern warning during a workshop aimed at creating awareness on the provisions of the Environmental Management Act amongst Members of Parliament here on Wednesday.
“We want to sensitise the lawmakers, especially the judiciary and the executive, because they are the ones who implement and execute State programmes.”
A clearly distressed Shifeta fumed at the high risks involved and ignorance of the law during mining operations.
He said companies disregard the importance of environmental impact assessments and mining rights, which could be a fatal blow for the economy.
“This poses a serious danger to the environment and human beings because some of these activities contain toxic chemicals that can pose a big risk to the economy,” he stressed.
These activities include the transportation of goods such as sulphuric acid on national roads, dumping of refuse, air pollution and un-assessed or unapproved mining activities.
In December last year, Parliament passed the Environmental Management Act to promote the sustainable management of natural resources and the environment, which will be gazetted soon.
Shifeta also noted that his ministry will soon list recently assessed and approved mining and agricultural activities, along with the terms of the approval. It will also provide reasons for the exclusion of those who did not obtain approval and the potential damage risks their planned activities included.
He added that companies and government ministries who ignore recommendations by his ministry will be listed, which could result in the possible termination of their mining licences, especially if deemed dangerous to the environment.
Ministries will also be tasked to come up with environment management plans, which most currently do not have.