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One more hurdle for NMP before construction

Sun, 7 October 2012 20:17
by Tirivangani Masawi



Although the Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) still has to iron a few differences with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), it still expects to resume its site construction in the first quarter of next year.
According to NMP, there will be reasonable impact on the ecosystem when the phosphate marine is done in Namibia but it will not be excessive on the country’s environment. Research has actually shown that their practice is safe, it insists.
This argument is meant to clarify the growing misunderstanding on the operations of the mine and how its operations will impact the surrounding environment.
Following MFMR’s unspecified queries over the mine’s environmental assessment, NMP believes the proposed project along the Namibian coastline will see the light of day.
This comes after the project, which is expected to pour in N$3.1b in investment, has been facing stiff resistance from the residents and lobby groups of Swakopmund.
Chief executive officer of operations for the company, Barnabas Uugwanga argues that the project, if successful, would make Namibia the seventh largest phosphate producer in the world and would heavily cut down on the agricultural input cost in the country.
Other major phosphate producers include Morocco (which caters for about 45% of the world’s needs), South Africa, Saudi Arabia and China.
Phosphate is a major component in the manufacturing of fertiliser worldwide. Namibia is said to be, in fact, sitting on the most lucrative and economically viable phosphate deposits as compared to other countries in the world.
According to Uugwanga, plans are afloat to prepare the phosphate locally.
“The project is expected to contribute about N$2.4b in revenue to the Namibian economy at its peak while it will also create between 400 and 500 jobs during the construction phase,” he said.
NMP also has a direct contribution of about N$1b to the State coffers through royalties and a rate of about N$50m per year.
NMP joint venture holds concessions (exploration prospecting licenses - EPLs) of about 2 233 km of ocean floor situated about 60km south-west of Walvis Bay.
According to the recent studies by the company, the phosphate deposits measure between 130m by 2 400m and have a 300-year lifespan.