Unions oppose phosphate mining

10 Sep 2019 13:30pm
WALVIS BAY, 10 SEP (NAMPA) – The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) has strongly condemned any individual, company or institution in support of phosphate mining in the Namibian seas.
In a petition read during an anti-phosphate mass marching campaign in Walvis Bay on Monday, TUCNA president, Paulus Hango, highlighted the dangers of offshore phosphate mining to the ocean and marine life, including fish which is consumed by many across the country and beyond.
“This will not only lead to foreigners refusing to buy our seafood, but will also lead to losses of jobs in the fishing industry which creates more than 40 000 direct and indirect jobs while more than 100 000 people are dependent on the fishing both directly and indirectly,” Hango said.
He stressed that it is therefore the responsibility of every Namibian to stand together and fight against the implementation of phosphate mining.
Hango alluded to his disappointment in how the Namibian Government is handling the licensing process of the mineral offshore and demanded for a law which prohibits phosphate mining at sea.
“We cannot afford a situation whereby the government officials give the license to mine phosphate offshore just to enrich individuals at the expense of Namibians,” he said.
Meanwhile, secretary general of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Job Muniaro, labelled phosphate mining as barbaric and highlighted Article 95 of the Namibian Constitution on the maintenance of the ecosystem, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia’s utilisation of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of Namibians.
“We therefore are opposing the destructive and dangerous proposals of mining phosphate in the Namibian sea,” Muniaro stated.
A case by Namibian Marine Phosphate has been opened against the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) at the High Court and a hearing was expected to take place on Tuesday in Windhoek.
Initially, the company was given a clearance certificate to go ahead with mining phosphate, however MET set aside the certificate for fishing companies to air their opinions, extending the waiting period for the company’s commencement.
A mass march by TUCNA and NUNW members was also scheduled to take place ahead of this hearing in Windhoek.
A similar march took place at Lüderitz on Monday.