75 % mining revenue coming from high percentage of protected land
The executive director of Namibian Uranium Institute (NUI) Dr. Gabi Schneider says that 75% of Namibia’s mining revenue comes from a high percentage of protected land and a careful co-management of conservation and economic activities is therefore called for, rather than banning mining in protected areas.
“The country must reconcile development objectives and mineral exploitation with environmental protection for its long-term socio-economic growth and stability. Clearly, an integrated approach is required so that development of one resource will not jeopardize the potential of another. NUI plays a leading role in facilitating and promoting such an integrated approach,” she says.
She adds that in this respect, NUI recognises the importance of cumulative impacts on the environment emanating from uranium exploration and mining activities.
Schneider also says that while the Namibia Uranium Association (NUA) members carry out their environmental monitoring programmes in order to reduce their footprint as much as possible, NUI through its committees and working groups ensures that the aspect of cumulative impacts is dealt with by looking at the bigger picture and integrate environmental, economic and social aspects through all phases of mineral production from exploration through construction, operation and mine site closure.
“The committee also assesses and monitors all risks associated with health, environment and radiation safety. Namibian uranium mining companies also subscribe to the International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) interpretation of sustainable development for the mining and metals sector.”
“They are further bound by the fact that Namibia’s 5th National Development Plan, which was drawn up with active participation of NUI, has the Global Sustainable Development Goals as underlying principles,” she says.
NUI remains the focal point supporting the industry in meeting the many environmental and socio-economic challenges, and providing a point of contact and a communication hub for all its stakeholders.