Staff Writer

Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) has announced that it is embarking on a job registration drive to register Namibians interested to be considered for the various jobs and roles that are expected to be created when/if the Sandpiper Project development commences.

The development comes as the company which claims its shareholders have already made a N$780 million investment, is currently awaiting judgment on a review application launched by the Confederation of Namibian Fisheries Associations and three other applicants which was heard in the High Court of Namibia on July 7.

“While the judgment is pending, NMP is embarking on a job registration drive, providing all Namibians the opportunity to register their interest to be considered for the various jobs and roles that are expected to be created when the Sandpiper Project development commences. Namibian Marine Phosphate believes that the development of the Sandpiper Marine Phosphate Project will provide a positive contribution to Namibia’s Mining Sector and the broader national economy, employing over 600 Namibians (directly and indirectly) for construction and operations in Walvis Bay and creating opportunities for SMEs and other economic sectors,” the company said.

“The objective of the exercise will be to compile a database of prospective job seekers who would be suitable candidates for employment in the future for various full time, part-time, and casual positions during the Sandpiper Project’s construction and operational phases.”

There are concerns that tens of thousands of jobless Namibians may not understand that the premature NMP publicity action is merely an exercise to measure the interest to be employed and not a call for employees for existing jobs.

The majority foreign-owned NMP said it looks to replicate the established operational co-existence between seabed mining and fisheries, amid concerns that the mining operations threaten the country’s fishing sector.

“NMP looks forward to further constructive engagement with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to ensure both co-existence and development of industries in the marine environment,” the company said.

“NMP remains fully committed to the responsible commercial, social, and environmental development of the Sandpiper Project in Namibia for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Sandpiper Project situated about 60 km off the coast of Namibia, covering a 7000 km² area, in water depths of between 180 m and 300 m, is expected to produce three-million tonnes per year of saleable rock phosphate over a 20-year mine life.

Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Limited (NMP) is a joint venture company owned 85% by Mawarid Mining LLC (of Oman) and 15% by Namibian registered Havana Investments (Pty) Limited (Havana). Havana Investments (Pty) Limited is owned by Knowledge Katti.

Controversially, NMP insists that the establishment of a fertilizer industry would contribute to the growth of the country’s agriculture sector, while also resulting in Namibia becoming a major exporter of phosphate and fertiliser.

Environmentalists locally and internationally as well as the Namibian fisheries industry and its line ministry and the tourism sector and its line ministry have expressed alarmed concern about the destruction of the entire seabed off the coast of Namibia if phosphates are commercially mined. According to these sources, once the seabed is stripped of nutrients and polluted, it can never be rehabilitated.