At a community meeting that ended up being postponed due to the late arrival of a representative from the Jointmen Investment CC residents were furious, claiming lack of information.
The meeting was held by the Environmental Compliance Consultancy (ECC), which has been engaged by the proponent Jointmen Investment CC to undertake an environmental social impact assessment (ESIA) and an environmental management plan (EMP), which is to be submitted to the relevant competent authorities – the ministries of mines and environment - for approval.
Member of parliament Jan van Wyk said the community was surprised to see the advertisement only on social media.
“With this comes opportunities but we are not prepared to let everything go and regret later. We are disappointed that the meeting has to be postponed because of lack of information,” he said.
He claimed there is a lot of uncertainty, especially among farmers.
Van Wyk added that people have an assumption that Chinese nationals have no respect for Namibia’s resources, saying the community wants their input to be heard. He also said contractors were escaping questions from the residents, with a reason of being caught in traffic.
A farmer at the meeting, who spoke under anonymity, said farmers were not contacted to attend a formal meeting; “this is the first failing point”.
She said the mining would reduce Rehoboth’s income that comes from tourists who visit Oanob Dam due to the dust that would be created by the mining activities.
“As farmers, we might lose our farms in the long run if these people decide to extend their mine with the right, and the community will also be severely affected with the dust because is just a kilometre from Rehoboth.”
Jointmen Investments CC intends to undertake quarrying activities to extract economically viable granite from the five mining claims.
Granite is a type of dimension stone, used mainly in the building construction industry with an established global market.
In a non-technical summary by ECC, it was stated that the potential social impacts are anticipated to be of moderate significance that may transpire beyond the site and into the local community.
These potential impacts may include moderate disruption to the residents of the farmstead closest to 72237 claim, including an increase in noise levels and dust arising from quarrying and block cutting activities, potential disturbance to tourists visiting the Lake Oanob Resort during business hours, potential indirect disturbance to the surrounding social environment during blasting and quarrying activities, potential to unearth and damage or destroy undiscovered heritage remains.
The ECC report stated that some jobs will be created as a result of the project and there will be economic benefits due to increased investment and investor confidence in the Namibian minerals sector.
ECC further stated that the proposed quarrying activities are high impact and intrusive events that require stringent management measures to reduce adverse impacts during the operational phase.
The envisaged impact during the proposed project include vegetation removal due to localised blasting activities and opening up of the quarry site, limited vegetation clearing for the possible creation of tracks, lay-down areas, workshops, storage areas, onsite cutting of granite blocks and transportation of ore from site at an approximate rate of 40-60 trips per day.