WINDHOEK, 19 MAY – Following the annulment of a Environmental Clearance Certificate ruling, Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) will turn to making good on its Sandpiper Phosphate N$5.2 billion Project.
Almost N$800 million has been ploughed into the project so far, and upon its completion, some N$728 million per year will find its way into government’s coffers.
“To date some N$780 million has been invested in the project to support exploration as well as technical, economic and environmental studies. Further development of the project will require an estimated capital investment of N$5.2 billion and is projected to yield Government revenues of approximately N$728 million per year in tax and royalty payments,” read a statement released by NMP.
On 5 September 2016, Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta decided to withdraw a three-year Environmental Clearance Certificate for the Company.
That decision meant that operations directly related to the extraction of phosphate from the Namibian seabed were prematurely suspended.
However, last Friday, the High Court of Namibia preceded on the issue, concluding that the Minister’s decision held no water and had to be set aside.
According to the statement, “…on Friday May 11th 2018, the High Court of Namibia ruled that the Minister’s decision to withdraw the Environmental Clearance Certificate issued to the Company by the Environmental Commissioner on 5 September 2016, is no decision at all and must be set aside.”
There were concerns that the marine extraction of phosphate would harm the environment, though no supporting facts have been unearthed thus far.
Prominent businessman Knowledge Katti reportedly holds a 15% stake in NMP, which also said royalty payments would amount to N$ 14.95 billion over ML tenure of 20 yrs.