Key zones saved from mining

A new policy has effectively banned prospecting and mining in nine key areas in Namibia.

02 December 2019 | Business

With about 75% of mining revenue generated in protected areas, a policy has been developed that identifies nine areas in the country where prospecting and mining will not be allowed.

These protected areas have specifically been excluded from these activities in the recently launched national policy on prospecting and mining in protected areas.

The policy was developed jointly by the environment and mines ministries and identifies several other national parks with specific zones that will excluded from prospecting and mining.

The protected areas include the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, the Daan Viljoen Game Park, the Etosha National Park, Gross Barmen, the Hardap Game Park, the Nkasa Rupara National Park, Popa Falls, the Von Bach Game Park and the Waterberg Plateau Park.

According to the policy document it has become evident that strong policy frameworks and tools should be developed to improve decision-making and provide protection for biodiversity, ecosystem services and cultural heritage.

The vision of the policy is to develop integrated and sustainable prospecting and mining practices in Namibia that support economic growth, while maintaining the integrity of ecosystems and natural resources; and avoiding the degradation of areas that are highly sensitive in terms of their ecological, social and/or cultural heritage value.

Diamonds and Uranium

The policy says that with the large size of protected areas in Namibia, a major part of the country's mineral endowment occurs in them.

“By far the two most important commodities in Namibia - diamonds and uranium - come almost exclusively from protected areas, with diamond operations occurring in the Tsau //Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park and the Namibian Islands Marine Protected Area, and two out of Namibia's three uranium mines in the Namib-Naukluft National Park.”

While their core business is the extraction of minerals, mining operations also make significant contributions to conservation in Namibia, the policy says.

The document states more than 70% of tourism activities in Namibia are attributable to protected areas, while tourism is also a highly labour-intensive industry and contributes to the creation of sustainable employment.

“It is expected that many new tourism concessions will be developed inside protected areas, significantly increasing concession fees paid to the state and rural communities, and creating employment opportunities. This will lead to increased tourism and support regional and national development goals.”

The policy also recognises that Namibia's mineral endowment, and the resulting exploration and mining, are of high importance to the national economy.

“Mining has been the mainstay of the Namibian economy for more than 100 years, and is set to retain its importance for the foreseeable future. The contribution to GDP is expected to grow to at least 17%, and mining remains the most important taxpayer, as well as foreign exchange earner.”



Adverse impacts

It is also a significant employer and skills developer, and therefore has a significant share in the social and economic development of Namibia, according to the policy.

Adverse environmental impacts from mining can range from permanent landscape alteration, to soil contamination and erosion, water contamination, the loss of critical habitats for sensitive plant and animal species, and ultimately the loss and extinction of species. The policy provides direction in terms of where mining and exploration impacts are legally prohibited and where biodiversity priority areas may present high risks for mining projects.

Protected areas or areas within protected areas that have the following characteristics will therefore be excluded from prospecting and mining: Biodiversity priority areas, high-value tourism areas, known breeding areas of certain species (including marine species) and important wetland areas.

Areas with existing economic activities, which would be compromised by prospecting and/or mining, will also be excluded, as well as areas with the potential to be developed into economically viable tourist or other compatible operations and sites of high and/or unique cultural, historic and/or archaeological value.

According to the policy a rehabilitation fund will be set up within the Environment Investment Fund (EIF) to mobilise resources for the rehabilitation and restoration of abandoned mines and impacted sites.

The fund will also require that exploration and mining licence holders fund bonds as security to ensure that they fulfil their environmental obligations.

This means that if an operator is unable to meet their environmental obligations, the state must not be the one responsible for paying the rehabilitation costs.

ELLANIE SMIT

Similar News

 

Policy bottlenecks harm Peugeot sales

4 days ago - 20 January 2020 | Business

Only a paltry 93 vehicles – out of a targeted 1 551 - have been assembled at the Walvis Bay Peugeot plant since its launch...

Loan holders want meeting with DBN

4 days ago - 20 January 2020 | Business

A number of Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) loan holders are seeking a meeting with the bank's management and board of directors to iron out...

Team Namibia perturbed by Fishrot

1 week ago - 17 January 2020 | Business

Team Namibia, a body promoting local businesses and products, says corruption scandals such as the Fishrot saga should not be allowed to happen in the...

Meatco makes plans for lean year

1 week ago - 13 January 2020 | Business

Meatco is working on various strategies to counter the difficult year ahead, when herd rebuilding will be taking place after the severe drought of the...

Job losses as Tschudi mine closes

2 weeks ago - 10 January 2020 | Business

The Tschudi copper mine near Tsumeb is set to stop operations at the end of next month, leaving about 420 workers jobless amid ongoing retrenchment...

Another Chinese firm eyes Ohorongo

2 weeks ago - 07 January 2020 | Business

West China Cement has made a bid to acquire Schwenk Namibia's 69% stake in Ohorongo Cement for approximately N$1.5 billion in a recent submission to...

Bridging the gap to success

3 weeks ago - 30 December 2019 | Business

Starting a business requires one to be determined, motivated, focused and ambitious, because it is not easy to get an enterprise off the ground.This according...

Air Nam settles with Challenge Air

1 month - 20 December 2019 | Business

Air Namibia has announced that it has reached an out-of-court settlement in a N$400 million legal dispute with Challenge Air. The airline said in accordance...

Don't fall for empty promises - Venaani

1 month - 19 December 2019 | Business

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has warned labour unions not to collude with government attempts to appease jobless fishermen with empty promises of re-employment.In a...

Erastus gets CEO nod

1 month - 13 December 2019 | Business

Licky Erastus has been appointment as the new CEO of Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC). Erastus had served as the company's acting CEO since June...

Latest News

A peek into the HR...

20 hours ago | People

Julia MushellengaThere are a few initiatives one can use to empower employees, but my main preference is through engagement. It’s important to create engagement platforms...

Same old, same old

20 hours ago | Education

At Nkurenkuru Combined School in Kavango West Region, learners are being taught under trees, seated on the floor or standing for hours due to a...

Fishrot bail strategy revealed

20 hours ago | Justice

The six men accused of accepting bribes worth N$150 million in the so-called Fishrot scandal have so far avoided applying for bail to protect details...

N$60m in SA worker funds...

20 hours ago | Banking

A whopping N$60 million belonging to the South African Municipal Workers Union National Provident Fund was among the so-called investments that have gone missing as...

Bank Windhoek assigns Muukua with...

20 hours ago | Society

Bank Windhoek has appointed Veripura Muukua as its new Communication Practitioner, tasked with Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and Stakeholder Engagement, effective Wednesday, 15 January 2020.In...

Investing in the people

20 hours ago | Society

Mariselle Stofberg“A new decade signals a time for reflection and focus on new opportunities that lie untapped before us. A decade passed teaches of victories,...

Commit to be fit

20 hours ago | People

Mariselle Stofberg It takes exceptional perseverance and determination to continue to chase your dreams despite adversity and complications that may arise. Jonathan Mweneni Mwafangeo has...

The value of the journey

20 hours ago | People

Mariselle Stofberg“So many times I focused on what I wanted to become, neglecting the process required to get there. As I matured, I realised the...

The struggle kids conundrum

20 hours ago | Opinion

The issue of struggle kids being prioritised for cleaner and labourer jobs has again reared its ugly head in the form of ongoing protests at...

Load More