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Marine Phosphate sidesteps issues

Dear Sir,
An article in your edition of 12 October 2012 carries several comments by the CEO of Namibia Marine Phosphate (NMP), Mr. Barnabas Uugwanga.
During the past year we have dealt with many of these and other absurdities and misconceptions so glibly polished by NMP and others in the marine phosphate business. Our views are part of the record. They need not be repeated here again.
However, some remarks in that article just can’t be left unanswered.
Before turning to his utterances let us remind his company colleague that the latter is totally wrong in saying that the moratorium in the Northern Territory of Australia has “nothing to do with the environment but it’s about indigenous rights”. He may be well advised to consult the official statement issued by the [Australian] Government when it imposed that moratorium.
No mining off the Territory’s sea bed would be possible until 2015. The moratorium means that exploration permits and mining permits for bulk materials in coastal waters will not be granted for the next three years. The statement went further: During this period a comprehensive assessment on the potential impact of sea bed mining by the Environmental Protection Agency will be undertaken to determine the impact of exploration and mining activity associated with bulk commodity sea mining while the Government will also be seeking to work with the other States and Territories on developing a nationally consistent approach to seabed mining.
When it comes to his interpretation of our using the words “guinea pig” in describing what is due to happen in Namibia’s coastal waters for the first time he should reread our observation. It’s not necessary to repeat it here. But he is clearly confused.
His labelling of positions taken by the fishing industry on aspects of marine mining as “smacking of hypocrisy”, “rather false” and “misleading” is baseless. He makes these pronouncements because he finds his arguments in superficial “reports” and “studies” which have no deep understanding of the realities of marine life and resources.
Who has scrutinised these “reports” and “studies” on which NMP relies so heavily? When and where have these passed any test? But yet, they are cited without blinking an eye. This stance and lack of any sort of context render most of NMP’s points little better than rambling diatribe.
This reinforces our opinion placed on record in our press release of earlier this week:
NMP has absorbed the idea that it has a monopoly on what is good for the environment and all others who advance different opinions are either fools or knaves.
Yours sincerely,
Swakopmund Matters
(For Swakopmund Matters the environment of the Namibian coastline and its ocean matters)

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