Geingob orders special Cabinet meeting on phosphate mining

27 Oct 2016 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 27 OCT (NAMPA) – A special Cabinet meeting will take place on 07 November when a strategic decision on marine phosphate mining off the Namibian coast in the Atlantic Ocean will be taken.
Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa made the announcement in a media statement on Thursday, which said President Hage Geingob has directed that the special Cabinet meeting be held.
Teofilus Nghitila, environmental commissioner in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, last month granted an environmental clearance certificate to Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) to mine marine phosphate 120 kilometres southwest of Walvis Bay in the Erongo Region to make fertiliser.
Following the granting of this licence, there have been negative reports that offshore phosphate mining may have a negative environmental impact on the aquatic life and the entire fishing sector in the long term, hence Geingob’s intention to address these concerns by way of the meeting, Simataa said.
The decision taken by the Government on the matter will be communicated to the public thereafter.
Two companies - LL Namibia Phosphates and NMP - have been granted mining licences for marine phosphate mining at Lüderitz and Walvis Bay, respectively. The Ministry of Mines and Energy issued these licences on 22 October 2010 and 13 July 2011. However, both could not commence with mining activities without the environmental clearance certificates.
The statement said the Environmental Management Act of 2007 (Act No 7 of 2007) empowers the environmental commissioner to issue clearances subject to certain conditions.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau said in the National Assembly on Thursday the environmental commissioner did not follow the right procedures in the issuing of the Environmental Clearance Certificate for marine phosphate mining.
Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta last week defended the issuing of the clearance and this week said he may appoint a panel of independent experts to review the process under which the marine phosphate clearance certificate was issued.
NMP is a joint venture company between Australian mining house UCL Resources Limited, Oman-based Mawarid Mining LLC, and Namibian company Havana Investments Limited.
The board of directors are Knowledge Katti, Tariq Al Barwani, and Sushil Srivastava.