WALVIS BAY - The Namibia Confederation of Fishing Associations (NCFA) has expressed concern about the planned phosphate mine it says could have a huge environmental impact on fishing, one of the largest contributors to the national economy.
Once operational, the planned Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Mine could extract an estimated five million tons of phosphate annually from the seabed off the coast of Conception Bay south of Walvis Bay.
Matti Amukwa, a representative of the NCFA, says the potential impact of the proposed marine activities associated with the project have provisionally been identified as loss of habitat, impairment of food chain functionality, possible release of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) into the water column, removal of typical spawning and feeding grounds, interference with fish behaviour and implications for the commercial fishing industry.
The NCFA believes the proposed Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Mine will negatively affect the fishing grounds of various marine species.
It is particularly displeased with the idea that the proposed mine will be in the backyard of the fishing town of Walvis Bay – the centre of the Namibian fishing industry.
“We consider that the NMP’s mining licence is a serious threat to the fishing industry without a rigorous EIA based on well-researched data”, stated Bernhard Esau the Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister when he addressed NCFA on Wednesday.
Esau said his ministry has been engaging the relevant ministries in analysing the contents of an Environmental Impact Assessment Study who added their concerns for emphasis in the EIA – which is expected to be completed in the next sixth months.