Nujoma rejects phosphate mining at coast

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Founding Father of the Namibian Nation, Dr Sam Nujoma.

WINDHOEK – The Founding Father of the Nation, Dr Sam Nujoma, supports the stance by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau, against the planned phosphate mine along the coast that poses a devastating threat to marine life.

Recently the fisheries minister said he is not willing to put at risk the country’s renewable resources by supporting the planned phosphate mining venture whose benefits are short-term but whose impact on fisheries could be long-lasting.

Last week Nujoma told New Era he fully supports the patriotic stance taken by the minister of fisheries because phosphate mining has short-term benefits compared to the fisheries sector whose benefits are long-term.

Nujoma made it categorically clear he is against phosphate mining at the coast that could have a detrimental effect on marine life.

The founding father said in no way should the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources allow the architects of the planned phosphate mine to proceed with their operations because phosphate mining would damage the country’s fisheries sector particularly hake.

He said if the initiators of the phosphate mine are so keen to extract the resource they “should go back to Australia because Australia also has phosphate”.

“These imperialists think we Africans are stupid and they want to destroy our fisheries resource – which is the future of our children – they must go back to Australia,” Nujoma said in an impromptu phone-in interview with New Era.

Nujoma was commenting on recent sentiments by the fisheries minister who held a consultative meeting with various stakeholders and line ministries to consult on the scoping for an environmental assessment study (EAS) of the planned phosphate mine.

All the stakeholders at the meeting advocated a detailed report on the possible effects phosphate mining would have on the fishing industry that is still in the early stages of recovery from years of overexploitation before Namibia became independent in 1990.

Though the planned phosphate mine is expected to boost Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through foreign exchange earnings, on the other hand fishing is the third largest contributor to the country’s GDP and employs 13 000 people.

By Chrispin Inambao

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