Lüderitz — Trade Port Namibia (Pty) Ltd, which started transporting manganese from South Africa for exportation to China via the Lüderitz port since December 30 2018, has been instructed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to clean up its mess at the harbour.
The ministry says offloading of manganese at the port is happening without the environmental clearance certificate having been
Senior conservation scientist in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Simon Hangula and colleagues arrived at the site on Friday and discovered that manganese has been dumped just a kilometre south of Lüderitz.
Hangula told New Era that they were dispatched to the southern coastal town by the environmental commissioner in the ministry to visit Lüderitz and investigate allegations of the storing and handling of toxic substances.
It was found that no environmental clearance certificate was issued to the company transporting manganese.
"Our investigation shows the company had applied to acquire an environment clearance certificate as acquired by law, but the certificate has not been issued so far," said Hangula
Hangula warned the operators not to violate the country's laws but obey them fully, as they are not supposed to transport manganese without having an environmental clearance certificate.
The office of the environmental commissioner has given the operator five working days to clean up the manganese at the site and place those already loaded on trucks in storage in a safe place for the time being.
The Lüderitz Town Council acting CEO Ignatius Tjipura, commenting on the matter, urged the companies to refrain from involving themselves in illegal activities but rather to follow the right procedures in conducting business.
Approached for comment, the director of Trade Port Namibia Monty Ndjavera admitted that the material was transported without an environmental clearance certificate being acquired. He promised that they will suspend all operations for now so that the law can be obeyed.
He further promised that during this week they will make sure that they have all the required documentation before any further business is conducted.
"I am only waiting for my partner in business, who is currently out of the country, as he was the one dealing with that document. But I hope we will get the environmental clearance certificate during the course of this week. The company's idea is to transport manganese from South Africa through Lüderitz port to China," said Ndjavera.
Information at hand shows that an environmental study was conducted for the company by Risk Based Solution CC.
On Thursday last week six trucks carrying manganese arrived in Lüderitz from South Africa, while two more arrived Friday. The eight trucks are now parked at the site awaiting clearance.
Concerned Lüderitz residents notified the truck drivers not to offload the manganese, saying excessive exposure (airborne) to manganese has catastrophic health consequences, especially in a town with strong winds such as Lüderitz.
The concerned residents immediately wrote a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism asking it to stop the operation.
They demanded that if an environmental clearance certificate was already issued to the company, it should be withdrawn.