Chamber of mines must review NMCF: Swiegers

27 May 2014 11:00am
WINDHOEK, 27 MAY (NAMPA) – The Chamber of Mines should review the Namibia Mine Closure Framework (NMCF) in order for it to deal properly with sustainable land use rehabilitated areas and biodiversity offset sites.
The Director of the Namibian Uranium Association (NUA) Dr Wotan Swiegers made this call in a presentation titled ‘Safeguarding the Namibian brand of uranium’ during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Chamber of Mines held in Windhoek last Wednesday.
“The framework should align the most recent approaches to sustainable land use rehabilitated areas and biodiversity offset sites,” he urged.
Swiegers suggested that the framework should include appropriate management of avoidance areas, in particular those with ore beneath them.
Sustainable land use rehabilitated areas at mines are aimed at ensuring that mining operations consider ways of reinstating a functional end land use that can positively contribute towards the future biophysical and societal demands of the people and the animals living in the proximity of a disturbed environment.
The NMCF of 2010 is primarily intended to provide minimum standards for companies developing or operating medium and large-scale mines in Namibia. However, it does not provide guidance for the closure of prospecting and exploration activities, nor for the rehabilitation of existing abandoned mines.
The framework is also intended to help government to enact appropriate legislation or regulations to ensure compliance by all in protecting the environment, the image of the mining industry and the country as a whole.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same occasion, president of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia Werner Duvenhage said the NUA has made great progress over the last five years, especially with the establishment of minimum standards for health and safety of employees and the environment. The NUA, which was known as the Chamber of Mines’ Uranium Stewardship Committee (USC) from 2009 until 2013, was formed after the realisation that the un-coordinated uranium (exploration) rush posed a significant risk to the industry itself. During 2013, the USC reviewed its objectives and since a different focus was now required, it was decided to form the independent NUA, although close links would be maintained with the chamber.
“Great progress has been made over the past five years. The point has been reached where the chamber’s USC sub-committee has successfully established the minimum standards for health and safety of employees and for the environment. The USC has also successfully initiated many projects around safety, health, environment, risk and quality and working proactively with new and established regulations,” Duvenhage said.