Bernadus Swartbooi, the leader of the Landless People’s Movement has slammed the Ministry of Mines and Energy for not being transparent, about the drilling in the Aminius Constituency in the Omaheke region, by a Russian-owned mining exploration company, which has raised red flags across the communities over concerns of water pollution with a possible consequence of destruction of livelihoods.
The LPM leader was speaking today during a media briefing on the country’s status quo in Windhoek, cautioning that the Kalahari basin borehole drilling will cause pollution and damage to the tourism sector, vegetation and water sources.
The process of transparency displayed by the MME lacks tangible information on its approval which came about by not having consulted the community which is likely to be affected by the uranium exploration.
He emphasised that the area in question has been a major underground lake flowing many millions of years flowing from the north to the south, which also reaches the Orange River and Botswana. He cautioned that the area is too sensitive and that the country cannot allow a situation where the two neighbouring countries’ water gets polluted when it can be avoided.
The area is believed to have underground water and the borehole drilling is seen as polluting the water that is the main source of water supply to most of these communities.
Swartbooi further stated that despite the whole project reportedly to have been envisaged to creating about 2000 jobs, it does not justify the negative impact it will have on the inhabitants’ livelihoods.
The LPM leader is opposed to the uranium exploration in the region, lamenting that licenses cannot be awarded to any mining company to come and drill boreholes in ecologically sensitive areas.
LPM indicated that they will be engaging the community on the matter, while also highlighting concerns of the said 1000 boreholes already drilled and also for not giving access to people to go and see what is exactly happening.
He equally, argued whether there is a political reason behind it, in which the incumbent government perhaps wants to claim that opposition parties are fighting against development since the project is said to create jobs.