DANGEROUS: Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi says his party will fight against proposed uranium mining in the Stampriet basin. PHOTO: FILE
DANGEROUS: Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi says his party will fight against proposed uranium mining in the Stampriet basin. PHOTO: FILE

In-situ findings concerning, LPM claims

Ogone Tlhage
The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) claims an environmental impact assessment (EIA) conducted to assess the viability of in-situ acid leach mining in the Stampriet basin is not favourable.

Party leader Bernadus Swartbooi has joined several others voicing their concerns over the proposed project by Headspring Investments, a subsidiary of Russian mining giant Uranium One.

Communities said mining in the area could damage water resources, which many are dependent on. Headspring proposed in-situ mining which will involve pumping an acid or alkaline solution into the basin to enable the extraction of uranium.

Swartbooi said a South African company reviewed the EIA conducted by a Kazakhstani company on behalf of Headspring, adding that the findings were concerning.

“What is clear is that there is no transparency in the process. A Kazakhstani company was asked to do the EIA process and that company has given that report to a South African-based company. This South African-based company appears to have rubbished the findings of the Kazakhstani company employed by Headspring Investments,” Swartbooi alleged.

Contamination a concern

Swartbooi was fearful that the proposed mining method would damage the entire basin and not just sections of it, adding that unlike in Kazakhstan where Headspring conducts similar activities, the project would potentially damage a drinkable water source.

“The pollution of the basin on one end would mean the pollution of the entire resource in the entire Kalahari basin that goes up to the Orange River and, in some cases, the Botswana water system,” he said.

He, however, refused to name the South African company that reviewed the EIA findings.

When approached for comment, Headspring spokesperson Riaan van Rooyen said the company would only respond to factual information.

The company is currently exploring for uranium in the basin near Leonardville.

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Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

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