NAMIBIAN Marine Phosphate (NMP) which intends to mine rock phosphate from the sea bottom off the coast of Walvis Bay claims that scientific studies have shown that sea bed mining, will have no significant impact on Namibian fish resources.
In a statement the company which intends to develop the Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Project said that the seabed does recover after excavation and without any significant impact to the commercial fishing industry.
“Studies and research into the Environment Management Plans revealed that it is clear that the Sandpiper Project will not kill not or detrimentally impact the fishing industry. Any claims to the contrary are scientifically unsupported.”
The statement follows about two months after President Hage Geingob instructed the Minister of Environment and Tourism and the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources make a final decision on the Environmental Clearance Certificate that was issued to NMP and then later withdrawn because of sustained pressure from the local fishing industry.
The presidential instruction came at the time of the international investment conference that was convened in Windhoek to boost the Namibian economy.
NMP has already spent millions of dollars in Namibia to secure the mining licences and other certification. The broader aim of the instruction was to find ways to protect and develop the investment made by the company.
In the statement the company says that since 2011, NMP have fulfilled every reasonable request made for inclusion in the environmental and scientific studies required to be granted the Environmental Clearance Certificate.
“NMP have and will always put consideration of Namibia’s marine environment and statutory requirements first. The company has followed Namibia’s regulatory path for environmental impact assessment and stands by the results and conclusions of the various independent consultants and specialists’ environmental studies. The Sandpiper Project will operate transparently and be openly accountable in compliance with all relevant legislation, in the same way that the marine diamond industry has been since the start of mining operations.”
In its statement NMP says there is firm evidence that the seabed does, in fact, recover after seabed mining, as presented in the 2008 BCLME study by Pisces Environmental Consultants on the cumulative environmental impacts of Namibia’s marine diamond mining operations over a ten-year period.
“To ensure credibility of the scientific work carried out by the selected consultants appointed under the management of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner, NMP proactively elected to allow the Environmental Practitioner to commission an Independent Peer Review of the environmental impact assessments, using internationally published industry specialists who are reputable and also leaders in their fields of expertise.”
According to NMP the Environmental Commissioner completed three separate independent external reviews of the EIA under the provisions of the Environmental Act 2007, all of which effectively concluded that there is no reason why the project should not go ahead subject to the recommendations they provided.
Namibian Marine Phosphate aims to develop a world class rock phosphate mining and processing project off the coast of Namibia that will establish the country as a premier producer in the global market.
According to NMP the project will contribute significantly to the Namibian economy and will support crop production worldwide through the provision of phosphorus for fertiliser products.