The MV Smit Madura
vessel, which was used
for collecting bulk
phosphate samples from
the Sandpiper marine
deposit
 
Walvis Bay, Namibia — 29 November 2012 – Controversy still surrounds the multi-million dollar Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) mining project “’ also known as the Sandpiper mining project “’ with some residents demanding more clarity regarding the land allocated to the project for its land-based operations.

The Sandpiper marine phosphate project is located in the Namibian waters of the South Atlantic Ocean. The deposit is situated 120km off Walvis Bay on the Namibian continental shelf.

allAfrica.com reports that NMP was already given the green light by the Ministry of Mines and Energy on condition it complied with all the obligatory requirements, since the land for the land-based operations is located in the Dorob National Park.

The piece of land at the centre of the controversy, situated south of the Walvis Bay Salt Works, is earmarked by NMP for its land-based processing plant in Walvis Bay, it emerged during consultations with various line ministries.

Concerned residents who identified themselves as “Swakopmund Matters” want to know why the piece of land was earmarked for NMP’s land-based operations while that specific land is in a protected area.

In a letter drafted to the municipality of Walvis Bay, the residents also raised concern over whether proper consultations were carried out with the central government with regard to the allocation of the piece of land to what is also known as the Sandpiper Mining Project.

“What is absolutely certain is that besides the serious ecological impacts of mining of seabed sediments on the marine environment, the bringing ashore thereof at Walvis Bay will have significant environmental impacts on the terrestrial environment as well,” the concerned residents say.

When approached for comment, the CEO of NMP, Barnabas Uugwanga, said the land had been identified after consultations with the municipality of Walvis Bay and other relevant authorities.
“In any case, the land has not yet been awarded to NMP, it was just identified and it makes perfect sense why it should be in that area since it was identified as an industrial area,” he responded.

He re-emphasised that the project would not have an adverse impact on the environment or marine life and will operate in a responsible manner.

The Sandpiper mining project is expected to generate at least US$280 million in state revenue, while Namibia can expect an investment of close to US$560 million once the project reaches peak production, while at least 1,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created.

Source: allAfrica.com. For more information, click here.