NUNW condemns phosphate mining

03 Feb 2017 10:00am
WINDHOEK, 02 FEB (NAMPA) – The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) is against plans by Namibia Marine Phosphate (NMP) Limited to mine marine phosphate off the coast of Walvis Bay.
During a media briefing here on Thursday, NUNW Secretary-General Job Muniaro condemned the idea, saying it could have serious harmful effects on Namibia’s marine ecosystem.
“Namibians are ready to fight against phosphate mining even if it will cost our lives,” he said, while demanding that Government disallow it to take place.
NMP wants to mine marine phosphate 120 kilometres southwest of Walvis Bay in the Erongo Region for more than 20 years.
Environmental Commissioner (EC) Teofilus Nghitila granted NMP an environmental clearance certificate on 05 September last year to mine marine phosphate.
However, Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta in November last year instructed that the environmental clearance certificate issued to NMP be set aside with immediate effect.
Shifeta ordered Nghitila to notify the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the fishing industry and all other interested parties to finalise their inputs into the report within three months.
Muniaro also said the government should hold 50 per cent of the shares in all mines in the country in order to prevent retrenchments in the mining sector.
He alleged that most mines owned by foreign companies retrench workers, only to re-recruit them at lower pay grades.
Muniaro said an example of this is Skorpion Zinc Mine, owned by Indian company Vedanta Resources. The mine is in the process of outsourcing its mining department which will see 278 workers employed by private South African company, Basil Read Mining.
The affected workers are expected to be part of 450 workers to be employed by Basil Read on a contractual basis.