Karas Region says it welcomes every investment in their region that is given a nod by an independent Environmental Impact Assessment study, EIA, but it also wants to know how its people will benefit from such investments directly and indirectly. This view was expressly pronounced at a community briefing meeting organized by LLNamibia Phosphates, which is co-owned by the Leviev Group of Companies on its proposed Marine Phosphate Mining Project in Luderitz.
The briefing was attended by the Governor of //Karas Region, Cde Lucia Basson, Chairperson of the //Karas Regional Council, Cde Jan Scholtz, the Mayor of Luderitz Cde Suzan Ndjaleka, SWAPO Party Branch Coordinator and Deputy Mayor of Luderitz Town Council Cde Hilaria Mukapuli, and several other community leaders and business personalities from the fishing sector.
LL Namibia Phosphate wants to set up a multibillion dollar marine phosphate plant in Luderitz, which started with a N$200 million demonstration plant last year. The demonstration plant was set up to make experiments for the manufacture of fertilizer products from Namibia’s rock phosphate sampled at a rich deposit in the ocean. LLNP is the licence holder of this huge deposit, which according to geologists, may last for the next 500 to 600 years.
Kapwanga started the briefing by saying that the envisaged marine phosphate mine would not affect the whole western coast of Namibia as some “faceless people” wanted the nation to believe. He said before the whole project got implemented in full, an EIA would have to be completed. The EIA would address the concerns of the fish and diamond operators so that they co-existed and complemented one another. “We are not going to say ‘here we go, to hell with fish operators.’ That is not how things are done. The EIA will certainly clear all the concerns that are raised by all stakeholders,” he said.
“This is our coast. We must protect it. Those who have fishing quotas should be allowed to continue with their operations. Those who want to mine marine phosphate should also be allowed to do so. They should coexist without harming each other. It does not make sense to kill one sector of our resources at the expense of another resource. The fishing sector is very important, but so too is marine phosphate mining. They should just coexist and complement each ot
Nearly 90 percent of mined phosphate rock goes into fertilizer for crop production and animal feed, which LLNP Director, Eli Nefussy, said were essential for life, adding that there was no substitute for phosphate. “When we talk about crop production, food security comes to mind here. Imagine how many small and large crop farmers will increase their yields if they could access phosphate fertilizer cheaply, as would be the case with the phosphate fertilizer we will produce from here? The potential is huge,” he said.
“China produces its own phosphate fertilizer but they ban its export because, given their huge population, they know the value of phosphate fertilizer when it comes to food security. This is a huge project,” said Nefussy. “The demand for phosphate fertilizer is very high. What we will produce here is just a drop in the sea. Given your support, this project will change the way we know Luderitz.”