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Industrial park dangerous for marine ecosystem

The Gecko Vision Industrial Park will have a negative impact on Namibia’s marine ecosystem, an environment expert has reiterated. Bronwen Currie, a marine biologist, says contamination of the ocean is difficult to monitor due to its fluid nature, with pollution only recognised when it is too late to do anything about it.
Currie further says the possible impacts on the Benguela upwelling system are “frightening”.
The most productive area of the northern Benguela, which stretches from Conception Bay in the south to Toscanini in the north, could be the worst affected. The area is known for its high primary production and is a favourite fishing and recreational area. Most importantly, it is a nursery area for fish larvae of commercial stocks, and supports well-established industries–commercial fisheries and aquaculture, recreational and sport-fishing; and nature-based tourism.
“Looking at the marine food chain, especially at the base, it is obvious that any imbalance in chemical substances can impact the whole ecosystem –initially affecting the growth and composition of the phytoplankton. Uptake of the wrong ratios of chemical building blocks could not only pass to the next food level but there could be increase in blooms and toxic species. Even very slightly contaminated seawater can affect small zooplankton – including larvae of fish and other animals such as oysters, to either kill them or result in abnormal or weak development”, Currie said  at a public lecture in Swakopmund recently.
As one goes further up the food chain, the bioaccumulation of unwanted substances occurs and this could affect humans as consumers –we are well aware that food-safety levels are imposed for
human health reasons, she added.
If wastes from the envisaged park should be pumped into the sea, the pollutants would spread quickly over large distances.
“The danger of the situation is complicated by the fact that, when it happens, it is too late to do anything about it. There will be a vast waste effluent non-stop, 24 hours, 7 days for over 20 years. Concentrated slurry of 2, 65 pools and 5 tipper trucks will be disposed in the ocean per hour. So in a 12 hour cycle, 34 pools and 60 trucks will be disposed. Sure, the concentrated slurry will disperse and dissolve but it will not disappear,” Currie emphasised.
She said that once the park is in full operation, the ammonium in sea water will become 2 000 to 8 000 times higher than in normal sea water.
The renowned marine biologist, added that a high level of phosphogypsum will form in the water. “Phosphogypsum consists mainly of calcium sulphate, which is harmless. But add to that high concentrations of fluorides, trace metals such as arsenic, copper and lead and radionuclides and you are left with something that is very, very acidic. Another factor to consider is the fact that the intake of the sea water will be treated with biocides, which kills marine animals and plants,” Currie said.
She said although it is difficult to find synergies between waste disposal and functioning marine ecosystems, a thorough and detailed investigation of a toxicity testing needs to be made before this park is developed.
Phillip Ellis, managing director of Gecko Namibia, has maintained that whether the park will affect either the tourism or the fishing industries, will depend on whether the development is done responsibly.
In view of public criticism of the project, Ellis said that if it is found that the development will cause huge damage to the environment, the company will not go forward with it.
Gecko Namibia’s proposed Vision Industrial Park (VIP) development will be constructed at a cost of N$12 billion. The industrial park was planned to be constructed  north of Swakopmund. The park will include plants for sulphuric acid, soda ash, leaching agents and phosphoric acid, a desalination plant and a port for importing and exporting large commodities in bulk.
According to the Namibian Coast Conservation and Management project (NACOMA) the biggest threats to the coastal environment currently are activities such as mining, tourism and off-road driving in protected areas; marine pollution through mining and prospecting activities, oil and gas exploration and harbour activities; as well as overfishing and over-harvesting.

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.