SPYL says no to phosphate

18 September 2019 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT



The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has called on environment minister Pohamba Shifeta not to allow marine phosphate mining in Namibia because it would endanger marine resources.

The SPYL urged Namibians to stand up against the planned project and the exploitation of natural resources at the expense of the environment.

SPYL spokesperson Gerson Dumeni said the youth wing had taken cognisance of the public outcry on this issue.

Dumeni said SPYL therefore warned the government through the environment ministry not to approve the “marine deteriorating plan” on phosphate mining.

“It is our mandate to defend and protect the national interest of the country and never to trade its resources to certain individuals who have no national interest at heart and see nothing wrong with auctioning the future of our country.

“These bidders have little or no regard for the future of this country and that of young people whose future are being placed at risk for monetary gain,” he said in a statement.

According to Dumeni marine phosphate mining would have a detrimental effect on Namibia’s fishing industry, which not only contributes greatly to the economy, but employs and supports thousands of households directly and indirectly.

“We cannot afford to risk the future of the current and generation to come.”

Dumeni said phosphate mining had the potential of damaging the country’s precious marine ecosystem and robbing future generations of a viable and reliable fishing sector.

He said if the project was given the green light, marine life could be endangered and the temporary financial rewards would be negated by the long-term irreversible deterioration of the environment and marine resources.

“We say no to financial exploitation of our resources at the expense of our environment. No to the auctioning of our country to capitalist monopolies, with no regard to the legacy that will be inherited by the future generation.”

President Hage Geingob recently promised Omani billionaire Mohammed Al Barwani, who is the majority owner of Namibia Marine Phosphate (NMP), that there would soon be a final decision on its environmental clearance certificate.

This follows a letter in which Al Barwani, whose net worth is believed to be over N$16 billion, expressed concern to Geingob about the delay of the Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Project after its environmental clearance certificate was set aside last year.

The Sandpiper Project is located about 120 kilometres southwest of Walvis Bay.

Geingob told Al Barwani that a meeting with the attorney-general must be convened, following which a final decision would be made by the government.

Al Barwani has an 85% stake in NMP through his company Mawarid Mining LLC, while Namibian businessman Knowledge Katti owns 15% of NMP through his Havana Investment.

The president's feedback to Al Barwani followed after he had taken up the delay with the issuance of an environmental clearance certificate with environment minister Pohamba Shifeta.

However Shifeta stressed that the certificate had been nullified and, because of a pending court case against the company's mining licence, there could not be a pronouncement on the application.

The ECC was first issued by the then environmental commissioner, Theofillius Nghitila, on 5 September 2016, but was set aside after several processes were followed.

This court case that involves three fishing associations has been postponed to October for further discovery and will only be heard in 2020.

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