ENVIRONMENT MINSITER ORDERS CLEARANCE FOR PHOSPHATE COMPANY TO BE SET ASIDE

Nambian Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta has instructed that the environmental clearance certificate issued to the Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) Limited be set aside with immediate effect.

Wednesday's decision came a few days before the Cabinet meets to discuss the issue next Monday.

Teofilus Nghitila, the environmental commissioner (EC) in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, on Sept 5 this year granted Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) an environmental clearance certificate to mine marine phosphate 120 kilometres southwest of Walvis Bay in Erongo Region (Province).

Shifeta , under provisions of the Environmental Management Act, ordered that the EC should notify the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the fishing industry and all other interested parties to finalise their inputs into the report within three months.

The minister said the consultation process should be completed within six months from Wednesday. "This order is with immediate effect and binds all parties, directly or indirectly affected, unless set aside by the High Court as per section 51(l) of the Act," he said.

Nghitila's decision to grant the clearance certificate was met stiff opposition from environmentalists and interest groups, with concerns raised about how the process was followed, a lack of objectivity, as well as secrecy and transparency.

President Hage Geingob has also ordered that a special Cabinet meeting be held on Monday, when a strategic decision on marine phosphate mining off the Namibian coast in the Atlantic Ocean will be taken.

The Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations, the Namibian Hake Association, the Midwater Trawling Association of Namibia and the Omualu Fishing Company on Tuesday asked the High Court in an urgent application to review and set aside the decision.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.