Namibia: Fisheries Workers Against Marine Phosphate Mining

OVER 1 000 people, mostly workers inside fishing industry at Walvis Bay, participated in a mass protest against marine phosphate mining, urging the government not to grant prospective miners an environmental clearance certificate.

The workers were mostly represented by the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) as well as the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna).

The protesters marched by the fishing factories inside harbour town to the Walvis Bay office of the Ministry of Environment as well as Tourism.

A similar march will be anticipated to take place in Windhoek today by the NUNW centre to the Windhoek High Court, where a petition will be handed over to the Office of the Prime Minister.

Acting NUNW president Job Muniaro said yesterday which marine phosphate mining was being promoted by a few “whose love for money outweighs the well-being of the majority of Namibians as well as the Namibian economy.”

He accused the prospective mining companies for blackmailing Namibians as well as its leaders to get an environmental clearance certificate.

“Namibians are committed to the ideals of the responsible as well as sustainable management of renewable resources, as well as we are standing up to defend our resources because Namibia will be all we have,” stressed Muniaro.

There are about 16 000 workers inside fishing industry, as well as concerns are which seabed mining for phosphates will inflict irreversible damage to Namibia’s lucrative fishing industry, which will be a pillar of the country’s economy.

Last month, environment as well as tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta told The Namibian which marine phosphate mining proponents tried to pressure him into approving the controversial phosphate seabed mining. Shifeta, the environmental commissioner as well as the deputy environmental commissioner were sued inside Windhoek High Court by Namibia Marine Phosphates (NMP), who intend mining off Namibia’s coast for many years.

NMP wants the court to compel the MET officials to make a decision on its continued efforts to be granted the certificate This particular needs to commence marine phosphate mining.

The certificate would certainly allow NMP to mine phosphate about 120km south-west of Walvis Bay.

In another matter due inside High Court today, three organisations representing the Namibian fishing industry – the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations, the Namibian Hake Association as well as the Midwater Trawling Association of Namibia – are asking the court to declare which a mining licence issued to NMP in July 2011 will be invalid, because the company failed to undertake an environmental impact assessment as well as apply for an environmental clearance certificate within the time limits stipulated inside law.

In both cases, Muniaro said the union as well as all its members as well as scientists as well as economists want to send a “strong message which Namibia will be not for sale to the highest bidder”.