Unwavering in our marine fight
We want to reiterate that we shall not relent in our support for the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources in his resolute commitment to the Cabinet’s moratorium on marine phosphate mining.
We shall continue to advocate and promote his undertaking to ensure that proper scientific investigations are duly carried out which will allow the government to make an informed decision about the future of marine phosphate mining in Namibia.
We do this as a result of a news report on 3 June 2014 quoting the spokesperson for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mr. Charles Matengu, as confirming, in the following words, the reason why LL NP was given permission to proceed with its phosphate plant in Lüderitz: “Our support is on the basis that Lev Leviev had already acquired most of the machinery worth millions needed to conduct such activities, and therefore our ministry also feels that they should be allowed to proceed”.
The report interpreted that support and permission as a “decision to sidestep” the moratorium on marine phosphate mining imposed by the Cabinet last September. Die Republikein used the quoted confirmation by Mr. Matengu to conclude that the moratorium had been killed off and that LL NP and other companies can now proceed with marine mining activities while LL NP may “construct its fertilizer factory” in Lüderitz.
Both Mr. Matengu’s statement and Die Republikein’s interpretation are in stark contrast and indeed in conflict with the uncompromising stand the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources took in the National Assembly on 10 April 2014 to the effect that he had not changed his position regarding the moratorium on marine mining activities. He unequivocally confirmed that he and his Ministry remained committed to the moratorium and the reasons why it had to be imposed.
Until and unless the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources himself makes a statement in which he overturns his abovementioned commitment to the moratorium and the protection of Namibia’s fishing and marine resources, Swakopmund Matters shall discard all other statements and interpretations by whomever as misinformed, ill-considered and highly questionable. At most LL NP may have been given permission for the construction and operation of its experimental / temporary phosphate separation facility in Lüderitz – nothing more.
In any case Swakopmund Matters and all those sharing a common commitment to the marine environment and its resources shall continue to monitor every activity of each of the marine phosphate companies, and especially LL NP in Lüderitz. Swakopmund Matters 4 June 2014 (For Swakopmund Matters, the environment of the Namibian coastline and its ocean matters)