Namibia: No Environmental Clearance Given to Mine Phosphate - Ministry of Environment

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism this week said that no approval has been granted for phosphate mining, following recent reports suggesting that phosphate mining has been approved.

According to the ministry's spokesperson Romeo Muyunda, the matter of phosphate mining is currently before the high court with two pending cases. Muyunda said a further decision could only be reached based on the outcomes of the two cases.

The one case is by fishing industry challenging the validity of the Phosphate licences granted by the Ministry of Mines and Energy while the other case is by the Phosphate Company to have the Environmental Commissioner make a decision to grant them a clearance certificate.

The recent reports on phosphate mining were fuelled by a 2016 case whereby the Environmental Commissioner had granted an environmental clearance certificate with a three-year validity period, but it was with conditions which would only allow the testing of phosphate mining, and would help gather data in the Namibian waters. This certificate was already nullified by the ministry at the end of 2016.

This decision was again appealed by the phosphate company in High Court, thereafter the minister heard the case in June 2018 and again nullified the clearance certificate and requested the Environmental Commission to do further consultations on the matter.

"Namibians are urged to be calm and reject with condemnation the insinuation that phosphate mining is approved," Muyunda said.

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