Omitiomire EIA flawed: Earthlife Namibia

09 Dec 2013 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 09 DEC (NAMPA) – Local environment lobby group Earthlife Namibia is claiming that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the proposed Omitiomire Copper Oxide Mine is flawed.
The Omitiomire project is located 120 kilometres north-east of the capital. International Base Metals Limited (IBML) holds the Omitiomire copper deposit through its wholly-owned Namibian subsidiary, Craton Mining and Exploration Limited.
Director of Earthlife Namibia, Bertchen Kohrs in a statement issued on Sunday raised the concern that the EIA for the copper mine is not done for the intended project. She claimed that the project is the first phase of a much bigger project.
“Craton knows that the EIA is only a phase one EIA. This is in contradiction with the bona fide principle. Applying later for an EIA for phase two is against the principle of venire contra factum proprium. Thus, the whole EIA is in conflict with Namibian law,” she stressed.
Flaws and concerns in the EIA, according to Kohrs, include amongst others that the housing alternatives were not considered sufficiently, as the arguments in favour of on-site housing are lacking any scientific proof and are based on assumptions; documents are contradictory with regard to the envisaged road; the EIA is not clear which standard of water laws the mining project intends to adhere to; and climate change and its impacts on groundwater levels is not mentioned once in the EIA.
Another concern is that the mine is located in an area home to cheetah populations. Kohrs said although cheetahs will be affected by the project, the impacts on cheetahs were not properly investigated and included in the EIA.
She accused Craton of not complying with the rules of the Namibia Mine Closure Framework.
The framework is primarily intended to provide minimum standards for companies developing or operating medium and large scale mines in Namibia.
According to the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, it does not provide guidance for the closure - neither of prospecting and exploration activities, nor for the rehabilitation of existing abandoned mines.
Kohrs further said that at this stage it is unclear whether it will be in accordance with future rehabilitation legislation if the waste dump and tailings storage facilities will remain as stated in the EIA and Environment Management Plant (EMP).
Meanwhile, IBML Interim Chairman, Dr Ken Maiden, in a speech during the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) and published on its website on 25 November 2013, indicated that the processing plant throughput is estimated at 40,000 tonnes per month.
The project mines three small pits to a maximum depth of 50 metres.
Maiden was quoted as saying that the processing will consist of crushing, in-tank leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning or electroextraction.
It is envisaged that a far bigger processing plant be built to mine the full sulphide and oxide resource at a later stage. The small oxide processing plant would then continue to operate in parallel to the much larger sulphide processing plant to treat the remaining oxide ore.
He said that should this bigger plant not be built, the small oxide plant could process more ore beyond the 3.1 million tonnes envisaged in the feasibility study.
“It is envisaged that, at a later stage, a far bigger project will be built to mine and process the full Omitiomire copper sulphide and oxide resource.
The corporate strategy is to remain focused primarily on Namibia. In particular, we plan to move the oxide copper project towards development and production, and to identify further copper resources within trucking distance of Omitiomire. In addition, we will continue to progress our other exploration projects,” he added.