Namibia, with one of the world’s largest undeveloped phosphate resources, stands to benefit from the development of a phosphate project says Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP).
NMP, with its proposed Sandpiper marine phosphate mining project, adds that development of phosphate mining will position the country as an exporter of phosphate and fertiliser products, thereby bolstering the country’s agricultural activity, as currently, much of the fertiliser consumed in Namibia is imported.
In this regard, the Sandpiper project could be the first “building block” for developing a fertiliser industry in Namibia, states NMP.
NMP has been envisioning a marine phosphate mining project for many years, using offshore contract dredging 120 km south of Walvis Bay and a shore-based processing plant. NMP also plans to supply the Namibian market primarily with fertiliser and export the products as production ramps up.
According to NMP, a definitive feasibility study (DFS), completed by NMP for the Sandpiper project in 2012 and updated in 2013, concluded that the Sandpiper project was technically, economically and environmentally viable.
Based on a commercially viable cut-off grade of 15% P205, the DFS indicated that there is sufficient phosphate resource within licence area ML170 to sustain mining operations and benefits for future Namibian generations for more than 100 years.
In addition to the DFS, NMP claims that independent scientists and specialists have concluded that, at the proposed scale of operations, the Sandpiper project will have no significant impact on the marine environment and that fishing and phosphate mining can co-exist and that phosphate mining will not kill the local fishing industry.
NMP enlisted international scientists to conduct these studies, costing over N$28.7-million, and ensured all the experts have worked in some capacity on the Benguela coastal system. These conclusions are based on 26 independent specialist environmental studies that were completed as part of the environmental impact assessment process, states NMP.