NamPort 'within ambit of ECC'

Worry over fishing

05 September 2019 | Transport

NamPort says no dust was generated by the transportation of manganese ore on uncovered rail wagons through Lüderitz to the harbour.

The parastatal reacted to an outcry by Lüderitz residents angered by the fact that the first legal consignment of manganese ore from South Africa was transported uncovered in gale-force winds.

“We have monitored this very closely from the moment it commenced,” said NamPort's commercial executive, Tino !Hanabeb this week. “We are engaging TradePort to ensure adherence.”

He added: “It is TradePort's full intention to operate within the ambit of the ECC [environmental clearance certificate] awarded to us for the handling of manganese and there is no intention to take shortcuts or to bypass any rules and laws applicable to us.”

Some of the conditions of the ECC issued to the South African company in February stipulate that the manganese ore and all other materials to be transported must be “contained and be in a stable state, covered in trucks and treated against dust-generation properties”.

It further states that the manganese ore must be sieved at the mines in South Africa, handled with appropriate moisture content and “always [be] covered to avoid dust emissions” along the way to the port.

“The ECC states that we may transport material in bags, containers and trucks and that all material must be handled within enclosed warehouses and always keeping the generation of dust to an absolute minimum. As far as we are concerned, we are operating within the necessary parameters requested of us and we have been generating no dust which could impact on the surrounding environment,” !Hanabeb said.

He said all material being transported has been chemically treated for dust suppression as required by the ECC. Moreover, he said the “lumpy” material has been sieved.

!Hanabeb said NamPort fully understands the residents' outrage over the transportation of exposed manganese and has therefore dispatched tarpaulins to cover the wagons.

Residents said the situation seems to have improved “slowly”. Most of the wagons carrying ore through the town are now covered by tarpaulins fastened at each corner – except where the Lüderitz wind has “liberated” some of the corners.



Concern over fisheries

Although no fishing company has complained about the manganese skips at the port, residents involved in the fisheries and mariculture sector have expressed concern over potential pollution within the port area.

An official of the ministry of fisheries and marine resources at the town also said no adverse effects have so far been observed.

NovaNam's Michael McKenzie said the company is not affected because the manganese containers are being kept on the southern side of the port.

The CEO of Marco Fishing, Kurt Laufer, also said as far as he knows no dust plumes have yet been experienced, but warned that any presence of manganese dust plumes would be a “disaster”.

CATHERINE SASMAN