Thousands register for phosphate jobs

27 October 2020 | Business

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Namibian Marine Phosphate has received more than 4 000 registrations within the first two weeks of its job registration drive in preparation for its Sandpiper marine phosphate mining project.

The company announced this yesterday in a statement, saying it is encouraged by and appreciative of the overwhelming response and remains committed to moving forward with the development of the Sandpiper Project off Walvis Bay.

The project has not yet been granted an environmental clearance certificate.

NMP is also waiting for the outcome of a High Court application by the Confederation of Namibian Fisheries Associations and three other applicants that want to stop marine mining on environmental grounds. The application was heard in the High Court on 7 July.

The job registration drive remains open till 30 November.

According to NMP, 4 097 people registered for jobs via email, SMS, and an online platform, and the initial statistics indicate that 39% of these are female and 61% are male, while 73% are unemployed.

A total of 30% of the registrants have completed school, while 24% have tertiary qualifications and 22% are certified in trade.



Promises

According to NMP, it will employ 600 Namibians directly and indirectly for construction and operations in Walvis Bay and create opportunities for SMEs and other economic sectors.

NMP said it is confident that it has provided the environment ministry with what it calls “one of the most comprehensive sets of specialist environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies ever completed in the project area and the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem”.

“This comprehensive body of scientific data, analyses and expert opinions has been submitted to the Environmental Commissioner and the environment ministry to enable an informed and science-based assessment and decision to be made regarding the application for the Sandpiper Project's ECC.”

The company had undertaken an EIA in 2012, as well as a comprehensive EIA verification study in 2014.





To date, shareholders claim to have invested more than N$780 million into NMP and the Sandpiper Project, while an annual revenue of N$4.2 billion is expected from it. NMP is majority-owned by Omani billionaire Mohammed 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. Following widespread controversy, the environmental clearance certificate for the project was set aside in 2018 by the environment ministry.

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