Thursday, 10 October 2019 07:24

Fishing and Phosphate can Co-Exist

Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd.

Media Statement  –  Thursday, Oct 10th, 2019.



Wednesday, 04 September 2019 10:20

Marine Phosphate Mining Will Not Kill the Fishing

Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd.

Media Statement  –  Wednesday, Sep 4th, 2019.



Thursday, 07 February 2019 13:13

BCLME Namibia Seabed Mining Report (2008)


The report is available from the Benguela Current Commission (www.benguelacc.org) and has direct relevance to the NMP marine phosphate project for the following reasons:


1) The BCLME report provides compelling physical evidence accumulated over a decade (1998 – 2008) of studies comprising numerous expert reports, baseline surveys, before-after/control impact studies and recovery monitoring surveys have been conducted to investigate the many concerns raised at these stakeholder consultations. These studies have concluded that many of the alleged impacts either do not occur or are insignificant in comparison with natural processes in the region or with the impacts of fisheries themselves.

The results of the seabed mining impact are presented in Chapter 5 of the report.


2) The impacts of seabed excavation for marine mining do alter the habitat in the mining area but are not significant at the scale of the operations when compared to the overall marine ecosystem and the seabed does recover over time, albeit at differing rates ranging from 2 – 15 years depending on depth.


3) Even in the most heavily and longest mined Atlantic 1 licence area (ML 47) off southern Namibia, < 1% of the total concession seabed area has been mined over the past 25 years. This contrasts markedly with the mistaken impression that the entire Namibian and South African west coast area has been impacted by marine mining.


4) Fundamentally all seabed mining activities comprise the process of seabed excavation by some form of dredging in order to process the material for recovery of minerals.


5) There are direct parallels between the related seabed impacts of marine diamond dredging and the proposed marine phosphate dredging operations (which have an annual footprint approximately 2.5km2/year being 20 – 25% of that of marine diamond mining operations estimated currently at approx. 15 km2/yr)


6) The presence of phosphate in sediments is not specific to the project area as phosphate occurs in varying concentrations in the sediments across the entire Namibian shelf area that is accessed for both marine diamond mining as well as bottom trawling.


7) Seabed trawling does impact the seabed and ecosystem which must be factored into the consideration for management of the marine environment as detailed in Chapter 6 of the report.


8) The findings presented in the 2008 BCLME seabed mining impact assessment report that the Benguela ecosystem and fishing industry are not affected at the scale of operations  are essentially consistent in many cases with the findings presented by independent environmental experts on the proposed scale of marine phosphate mining in ML170 in the 2012 Environmental Impact Assessment Report and 2014 EIA Verification Study Report as well as Independent External review reports that were completed.

Monday, 14 May 2018 16:14

NMP Media Statement

Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd.

Media Statement – Monday, May 14th, 2018.


Monday, 20 November 2017 07:22

Phosphate, Diamonds, Fish - Food for Thought

Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd.

Media Statement – Monday, November 20th, 2017.


Monday, 20 November 2017 07:09

Seabed Mining in Namibia

Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd.

Media Statement – Monday, November 20th, 2017.


Thursday, 23 March 2017 13:25

Environmental Management Plan

The 2012 EMP was amended in 2014 following on completion of the Verification Study (included as one of the pre-dredging commitments in the 2012 EMP). These amendments reflect not only the  findings of the  Verification Study, but also includes the recommendations of  the Independent Peer Review team.

A draft addendum to the 2014 EMP was submitted to the Environmental Commissioner, which now incorporates additions to address the residual issues presented and discussed at the meeting held in Swakopmund (April 2016) with MET and MFMR.

Read:  The Environmental Management Plan (2014): Sandpiper Project

Read:  The Environmental Management Plan addendum (2016): Sandpiper Project


Thursday, 23 March 2017 13:04

Independent Peer Review Process (2013-2016)


In deference to the sensitivity of the ocean environment and the principles of responsible development of ocean industries, the environmental studies in ML170 have been subjected to several independent external reviews and quality controls intended to ensure a high standard of scientific assessment.
NMP has made it a commitment that all the work conducted during the EIA and the verification programme was subjected to an independent peer review. Thus, at the end of the Verification Study, all the scientific work conducted was required to undergo peer review. A peer review workshop was convened bringing together all the specialists who conducted the work. Their work was reviewed by a panel of established experts on the Benguela Ecosystem. Peer review is an integral part of good scientific practice.

  • The Independent Peer Review Panel comprising four internationally accredited marine experts with specialist experience in the Benguela Large Marine Ecosystem was selected by the EAP to review and assess the findings of the EIA Verification Study. The Peer Review Panel comprised:
    •     Dr Andrew Payne
    •     Dr Michael O’Toole
    •     Dr Barry Clark
    •     Prof. Alankendra Roychoudury

  • The Environmental Commissioner also commissioned Independent external review of:
    •    The 2014 Verification Study
    •    The Peer Review Report on the 2014 Verification Study

  • The independent review report is held at the Office of the Environmental Commissioner.


Findings of the Peer Review Panel

  • “Overall, the team finds that the response of the client to issues raised at the earlier review of the EIA through commissioning appropriate verification studies has been appropriate and laudable. The quality of those verification studies is covered elsewhere in this report, but collectively and independently, they have been carried out to the highest scientific and technical standards, using appropriate and up-to-date methodology.
  • “The results have almost without fail raised the level of confidence associated with the results in terms of likely impacts, and the team wholeheartedly confirms those analyses.”
  • “To conclude, the review team is impressed by the quality of the information provided to it and believes that all avenues and disciplines of concern relating to the proposed operation in SP-1 have been addressed adequately. The policy decision on whether to proceed is a national one, but we can say that the information provided to us has convinced us that everything points to there being a minimal impact of the proposed operation, should a licence be granted, to the Namibian shelf ecosystem.

Read:  The 2014 Independent Peer Reviews, Verification studies: Sandpiper Project

Read:  The UNAM independent observer report: Sandpiper Project

Read:  The CSIR compliance statement: Sandpiper Project


Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:28

EIA Verification Study (2013/2014)


Overall, the results of the Verification Study have not only confirmed the validity of the original 2012 EIA impact assessments, but have, also raised the confidence level  of the assessments to  “high” in all cases.”


Following submission of the EIA, a further round of consultation was completed in 2012, this was facilitated by the Governor of the Erongo Region in compliance with the Environmental Commissioner’s requirements. In addition, in accordance with the provision of the Environmental Management Act (Act No. 7 of 2007), the Environmental Commissioner commissioned an independent external review of the EIA, this was undertaken by SAIEA.


In regard to the proposed Pre–dredging Baseline Survey (Verification Programme) the Independent External Reviewer (SAIEA) concluded “I have no doubt that if these survey activities are undertaken and the parameters listed are sampled and monitored, sufficient data would be collected and processed to allow for the verification of the impact assessment studies and assumptions. These data will establish useful baselines from which further monitoring activities can be undertaken after any of the proposed dredging cycles have been completed”.


In line with the recommendation of the Independent External Reviewer and to address remaining sensitivities and residual concerns of certain parties the Environmental Commissioner advised that the Verification Study proposed in the EMP should be completed. This would then facilitate a fully informed decision regarding the application for the Environmental clearance.


The proposed Verification Survey work programme was duly amended and finalised in consultation with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), incorporating several additional studies. Authorisation and approval was obtained from MFMR for all activities related to the fisheries component of the Verification Survey. All key ministries (Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources) were invited to participate as observers in the Verification survey.


The Verification Programme was undertaken over a two-year period in 2013 - 2014 and required the mobilization of three separate marine surveys on three different vessels to undertake the various in situ studies and data gathering within and around the 20 year dredging site  SP-1. The work programme included:
•    Deployment of oceanographic instruments to measure currents, temperature, salinity and oxygen;
•    Recovery of additional seabed cores to obtain samples for biogeochemical analysis to determine the potential for dredging to cause the release of hydrogen sulphide and heavy metals into the water column;  
•    Recovery of benthic samples to determine the presence of large sulphur bacteria and the nature of the benthic community inhabiting the upper layers of the sediment;
•    The first-ever systematic analysis of meiofauna on the Namibian Continental Shelf;  
•    A geophysical survey comprising multibeam and side scan sonar was conducted to define seabed character and confirm the absence of deep water corals or other such habitats;
•    Biodiversity Studies - Trawls to assess biodiversity using a monkfish net (modified in accordance with specifications set by MFMR) to determine the nature of the epibenthic community i.e. those organisms living on the surface of the seabed;
•    The same trawls were used to sample the fish communities present with an emphasis on commercially important species, but also assessing non-commercial species;
•    Observations of sea birds and marine mammals throughout all survey activities;
•    A commercial trawler was chartered from the fishing industry for the fishery survey, and staff from MFMR participated in the trawl survey;
•    The Verification Programme activities also were monitored independently by the University of Namibia;
•    Fisheries stock impact assessment modelling;
•    Fisheries spawning and recruitment studies using MFMR supplied data and impact assessment;
•    Plume impact assessment study review; and,
•    Ecosystem modelling to assess potential ecosystem level impacts


Overall, the results of the Verification Study have not only confirmed the validity of the original 2012 EIA, but have, also raised the assessment confidence level to the high category in all cases.


The Verification study report was submitted to the Environmental Commissioner in December 2014 along with the updated EMP.


Read:   2014 EIA Verification Study Report (Executive Summary)


The full EIA Verification Report is available upon application via the office of the Environmental Commissioner.

Email:    saima{@}met.gov.na  or  hiskia.mbura{@}met.gov.na


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