LÜDERITZ – Divergent views have emerged out of the south coast port town of Lüderitz on whether it was safe to use it as a transit for manganese ore from South Africa to China.
Critics of the move recently successfully lobbied the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to stop TradePort Namibia cc from shipping the ore to China, after six trucks, carrying manganese arrived at the town from South Africa.
The company was found to have no environmental clearance certificate to carry out this activity and was granted a deadline within which to clear the port of manganese ore spills.
Critics had vowed that even if the certificate was granted, they would continue protesting the activity which they claimed was a health threat.
TradePort Namibia cc, who started transporting manganese from South Africa to China via the Port of Lüderitz since 30 December 2018, has since removed ore from the port as instructed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism recently.
Senior conservation scientist for environment assessment in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Hiskia Mbura told New Era last week that the company has removed the manganese ore from the site, and store them in the safe place until they are issued with an environmental clearance certificate from the ministry.
The company had not obtained the certificate by late last week.
New Era now understands that TradePort Namibia cc intends to undertake road and rail manganese import and export operations by utilising the Trans-Oranje Corridor, linking the Port of Lüderitz with the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
The proposed import and export trading operation by TradePort Namibia through Trans-Oranje Corridor strategically falls within the national Namibia and regional Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) master plan for the international logistics hub development.
The proposed project will unlock the local business and trade opportunities for the town of Lüderitz and Namibia as a whole.
A Lüderitz resident who preferred anonymity explained that with the premature closure of mining operations in late 2018, Namdeb northern coastal mine Elizabeth Bay resulted in the retrenchment and reassignment of more than 300 of its employees from Lüderitz.
What this meant for the town, the resident said, is that in this already struggling economy a very significant portion of the buying power of the town has been taken away.
He said it is no secret that the Namibian economy in is a depression state and has each and every household trying by all means to preserve the little that there is and spend very sparingly on needs rather than wants.
This reality is however only true to the majority of the people in the country and the town of Lüderitz to be more specific.
“We, the less privileged, will always support development and business endeavours that promise job security, economic upliftment and development of any nature. The voice of the wealthy minority and those that oppose positive change and development will however always speak a different tongue,” he said.
The resident said the current manganese import and export through the Port of Lüderitz has stirred up very negative reaction from the ‘Lüderitz elite’ who are seemingly against development at the town.
He emphasised that this could be because they are not affected by the economy.
“The very same ‘elite’ are the same that were against the Lüderitz Waterfront Phase 2 Development, the Lüderitz Waterfront Shopping Mall, the same who attempted to chase street vendors from municipal sidewalks - claiming that it is on their business premises. One can’t help but wonder if these are racist acts since those involved in the mentioned examples are black Namibians.”
Manganese has been mined for more than 10 years in the Hochfeld area of Otjozondjupa Region and stored in Okahandja before being exported from the Port of Walvis Bay.
“This proves that TransNamib in collaboration with Namport have more than 10 years experience in handling manganese with a clean safety sheet,” said the resident.
2019-01-14 11:14:28 5 months ago