Job Muniaro Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila
The government says there is nothing that can be done regarding the issue of phosphate mining because the case is before courts.
Responding to a 19-page petition that was handed over to her office on 10 September by the National Union of Namibian Workers acting president Job Muniaro, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told that there are two cases pending before the courts.
The 19-page petition pointed out numerous scientific concerns, the possible environmental impact the mining would have, the small economic and social contribution it would have, compared to the fishing industry, and also the political implications if the miners were given the go-ahead.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said one case was by the fishing industry challenging the validity of the mining licences granted to Namibia Phosphate Mining by the mines and energy ministry.
The other, she said, was by the Namibia Phosphate mining challenging the environmental commissioner to grant them a clearance certificate.
She also said that the environmental commissioner granted the mining company a licence to test for phosphate on Namibian waters and to gather data.
“The conditions were that if the testing activity presented evidence that it would harm the environment then it will be stopped immediately,” she said.
However, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said, the granting of the clearance certificate was appealed by an environmental group who then set aside the certificate.
The company then approached the High Court in 2018 saying that they were not given room to be heard, the Prime Minister said, adding that court set aside the minister’s decision and ordered him to convene another hearing.
After giving the company a chance to present their case, the environment minister once again nullified the clearance certificate.