THE Economic and Social Justice Trust (ESJT) claim that any disturbance of the seabed by marine phosphate mining will present a severe threat to the fragile Benguela marine ecosystem.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the trust has called on the government to put an end to all proposed marine phosphate mining projects in Namibia.
“As long as there is a reasonable level of uncertainty regarding possible damage to the ecosystem and thus Namibia’s fishing industry, marine phosphate mining must simply not be allowed,” reads the statement.
In March Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) announced its application for an environmental clearance certificate for its mining licence for the Sandpiper marine phosphate project in Namibia.
The ESJT says NMP has not investigated the potential impact of noise, toxins and sediment plume on marine life and the ecosystem as a whole.
“The area at which NMP wants to conduct its operations is on the edge of the breeding grounds of hake, monkfish and horse mackerel,” the statement says.
The proposal for marine phosphate mining has been condemned in the past by the fishing industry, environmentalists and marine biologists.
They have claimed that if phosphate mining is allowed it would have devastating long-term effects on the environment, and could destroy Namibia’s fishing industry.
There have also been fears that the wastewater used for rinsing the five million tonnes of sludge would run back into the ocean, or may be leaked into underground freshwater aquifers supplying Walvis Bay.