Rikus Grobler | Jun 20, 2017 | 0
Phosphate Mining dubbed as “wholesale destruction”
In their latest response to the disputation surrounding phosphate mining, Swakopmund Matters, environment lobbyist group responded to the Namibia Marine Phosphate (NMP) article which articulates extensively on the case of co-existence between phosphate mining and the fishing industry.
In their letter, NMP calls for a fair and open acknowledgement of the common impacts of both activities (mining and fisheries) and the shared responsibility of all ocean industries to protect the marine environment.
“There are clear parallels between marine dredging, mining and fishing activities that in fact underpin a strong case for coexistence of fishing and marine phosphate dredging”.
NMP detailed that those opposing phosphate mining are attempting to portray the issue as a” stand-off” between phosphate dredging and fishing, stating the position that “only one or the other” can exist, stating that the data from site specific scientific studies and local evidence from the current fishing/trawling activities show that this is not the case.
In response to the publication, Swakopmund matters elaborated that statements like these raise more questions than they ever can allay fears.
Swakopmund Matters continues to question the credibility of NMP’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study and quotes the phosphate company assessing that they’re EIA study has “A high level of confidence”.
“Who expressed this? Probably the ones hand-picked by NMP to read their documentation and who excel in desktop studies. If NMP’s studies and conclusions have indeed been so “comprehensively evaluated” in the Project’s EIA and subsequent Verification Study it does appear suspicious that NMP is so apprehensive to submit their documentation to public and international scrutiny,” said Swakopmund matters.
NMP in their second media release stressed that not one grain of phosphate has been dredged from the ocean however the seabed and marine environment off the Namibian coast is already being exposed to these disruptive activities in the form of the current fishing (trawling) and marine diamond mining operations.
In response to claims made by NMP that phosphate mining is technically not a “world first” as it fundamentally involves dredging, Swakopmund matters referred to documentation published in the latest journal of National Geographic. The group refers to an article written by Dr. Sylvia A. Earle entitled “Deep Sea Mining: An Invisible Land Grab” which she describes as “a campaign of wholesale destruction.”
“Fact is that their activities – call it by whatever name NMP wants – will not only have a direct influence on fishing, but will harm the marine environment in its totality. This harm NMP brushes of by stating that technologies needed to access the deep sea as well as sources needed for independent scientific assessment at those depths are essentially non-existent,” said Swakopmund matters.