The Namibian Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Hon. Bernhard Esau, made the following announcements relating to the Moratorium on Deep-sea Phosphate Mining in an interview with NAMPA (Namibia Press Agency) earlier this week:
In September 2013 his Ministry had made a submission to Cabinet to place an 18-month moratorium on deep-sea phosphate mining and that was endorsed by Cabinet. However, he has now explained to NAMPA that the “submission included an addendum which stipulated a moratorium of three years”.
Cabinet decided that an “independent scoping study and a comprehensive EIA should be carried out by consultants during the moratorium period, who should, along with experienced scientists, receive direction from the Fisheries Ministry, in consultation with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism as well as the Ministry of Mines and Energy”.
According to him “the scoping period will determine the end date of the moratorium”.
The Norwegian-based Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF) and the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) have been asked to study the impact of marine phosphate mining on the ocean environment.
He also stressed that “environmental clearances can only be granted after adequate research had been conducted and therefore, a moratorium period is required to carry out these studies”.
Press Release, December 19, 2013