NMP on tenterhooks over phosphate judgement

Delayed once again

14 May 2021 | Local News

ELLANIE SMIT





WINDHOEK

Namibia Marine Phosphate (NMP) says even though the judgement on the validity of its mining licence has been postponed once again, it has full confidence in the Namibian legal system and remains confident for a positive outcome.

The delivery of the judgement in the controversial marine phosphate mining case has been postponed for the umpteenth time to 16 June after it was originally set for 8 March following a hearing last July.

“NMP is eagerly awaiting the judgement to conclude the legal process so that the project can be taken forward to the next stages of development and create much needed employment for Namibia,” said NMP country manager, Hannelie Scheepers.

The Confederation of Namibian Fishing Association, the Namibian Hake Association, the Midwater Trawling Association and Omalulu Fishing brought legal action against the company in 2016 and it is serving before Judge Harald Geier.

According to Scheepers, a court order said the matter has been postponed to 16 June because the judgement – meant to be delivered on 11 May – was not ready.

“No new evidence has been introduced,” she said.

She added that the company’s job registration drive - launched at the end of November last year - and online information workshops were completed in April and May and were well attended.

Eagerly awaiting judgement

Scheepers said the information provided at the workshops appeared to have been well received, with many registrants expressing positive feedback in addition to requesting ongoing updates as the project progresses.

According to her, NMP is still planning to conduct in-person workshops, which are currently on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions.

NMP is majority-owned by Al Barwani, who has an 85% stake through his company Mawarid Mining LLC, while Namibian middleman Knowledge Katti owns 15% through Havana Investment. The Sandpiper project is located about 120 kilometres southwest of Walvis Bay. The licence covers a 2 233 km2 area in water depths of 180m to 300m.