Debmarine committed to environmental protection of marine mining areas
WINDHOEK - Chairperson of the Debmarine Namibia board of directors Dr Michael Himavindu says the company is committed to protecting the marine environment where they mine diamonds.
Humavindu made these remarks in his opening remarks at a recent Debmarine Namibia environmental stakeholders breakfast meeting held in Windhoek.
He said Debmarine aims to be a leader in marine environmental stewardship and will strive to maintain the company’s reputation as a responsible citizen.
“To put all this into perspective, Debmarine Namibia employs a number of full-time environmental scientists and contracts independent marine specialists.”
“We manage impacts on the environment with guidance from, among others, Namibian legislations through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, where we submit our Environmental Management Plan for approval, and are certified to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management standards and other international best practices,” said Humavindu.
He added that Debmarine environmental impact on marine environment is monitored and the necessary mitigation measures are in place. Debmarine CEO Otto Shikongo said from the beginning of the company’s operations, they have been critically aware that the future of the marine diamond mining industry was intimately linked to effective environmental management of the highest standards possible.
For this reason, he said, in 1991 their first environmental impact assessment was commissioned and was conducted by the University of Cape Town and many aspects were considered by the study.
“In 1996, after years of environmental surveys, the multidisciplinary team of independent scientists concluded that there was not a significant effect on the environment. This unique series of studies formed the solid ground for our ongoing seabed impact research initiatives,” said Shikongo.
He added that Debmarine has also supported social environmental initiatives such as the supply of benthic samples to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the University of Namibia (valued at N$9 million), participation in coastal biodiversity activities and coastal clean-ups, marine awareness and education fairs and tours for primary schools (through the Namibia Dolphin Project), provisions of scholarships for graduate and postgraduate studies in environmental science.
Debmarine’s Manager for Mineral Resources, Godfrey Ngaisiue, who gave the company’s environmental management overview, started his presentation with showing a video on the negative effect of plastic in the world. According to the video, 91 per cent of plastic in the world is not recycled and plastics are a threat to marine animals.
Ngaisiue highlighted that Debmarine is committed to protecting the natural environment and the company’s environmental management plan is in compliance with legal and other requirements.
He said every three years, Debmarine obtains its environmental clearance certificate from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, which is an essential component of their license to operate. He explained that in 1994, Debmarine established the Monitoring Programme on the Seabed.
The Resident Director of De Beers in Namibia, Daniel Kali, said environmental protection is part of De Beers’ commercial imperatives.