NAMIBIAN Ports Authority (Namport) executive Immanuel !Hanabeb said the recently introduced manganese project will culminate in an additional 360 000 tonnes of cargo per annum passing through the port of Lüderitz, resulting in a 60% overall volume increase.
!Hanabeb was speaking at the commissioning of the first manganese shipment through Lüderitz over the weekend, where he said the current volume throughput of Namport through Lüderitz is 600 000 tonnes per year.
The port of Lüderitz is targeting manganese from the Northern Cape Province of South Africa in the Hotazel area, which is transported through the Trans-Oranje Corridor route. At least 30 000 tonnes of manganese is expected to be transported on a monthly basis.
“Namport's strategic initiative outcomes are to re-route manganese and other products and increase throughput capacity,” he said.
He added that the port of Lüderitz is an integral part of Namibia's logistics hub master plan and would add further impetus towards the economic development of the country.
!Hanabeb acknowledged that the handling of manganese at Lüderitz kicked off with a host of environmental challenges, however, he was quick to say with Namport's risk assessments, along with inputs from the public regarding both environmental and health concerns, these issues are given priority.
“Namport operates an internationally certified safety, health, environmental and quality management system that ensures that all negative aspects which can have an impact on the environment and surrounding communities are identified and managed to prevent pollution or ill-health,” !Hanabeb said.
He further said Namport's clients must undertake independent environmental impact assessments and management plans and obtain environmental clearance certificates before operating inside the ports.
In a speech read on his behalf at the commissioning of the first manganese shipment on Friday, vice president Nangolo Mbumba said extreme caution should be exercised when transporting and handling the manganese ore to ensure adequate protection of the adjacent communities and environment.
“Additionally, I urge the relevant authorities to regularly monitor and enforce health and safety regulations,” Mbumba said.
Since December last year, members of the Lüderitz community have raised concerns about the storing of manganese ore and the possible risks to their health and the environment. – Nampa
SOURCE: The Namibian