Phosphate Mining Company says fishing and phosphate can co-exist
Namibian Marine Phosphate has come out strongly against reports that suggest their proposed development of the Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Project will have a detrimental impact on both the Namibian fishing industry and marine environment.
The company said 14 environmental studies have been completed as part of the environmental impact assessment process, which concluded that the Sandpiper Project will have no significant environmental impact on the marine environment in which the project is situated.
At a recent press conference, the company said they enlisted internationally renowned scientists to conduct these studies, costing in excess of N$28.7 million, and ensured all the experts have worked in some capacity on the Benguela Coastal System.
The company also stated that seabed mining currently co-exists with the bottom trawl fishing industry as evidence from Namdeb’s studies over the past 20 years confirms that the seabed is recovering after the excavation for mineral.
In addition to this, the company noted that no formal or legally valid moratorium currently exists regarding the marine mining of phosphates.
The mining licence issued to the Sandpiper Project covers an area of 2,334km2. However, Namibia Marine Phosphate intends to conduct dredging operations in a specific area: SP1 (60km2) which represents a small portion of ML170.
“The target area for dredging phosphate sand is small on a regional scale, and consequently any adverse environmental impacts can be appropriately managed through the comprehensive and legally binding Environmental Management Plan,” the company said.
Thus, the company welcomes the opportunity to formally address Namibia Seaman and Allied Workers Union (NASAWU) and Swapo Party Youth League’s concerns recently raised in the public arena.