Namdeb happy with rehab processBy: BRIGITTE WEIDLICH
THE rehabilitation of vast tracts of land in the diamond-mining areas of the southern Namib is progressing well, says the mining company Namdeb.
“We have not only restored vast tracts of land that were mined for decades but a big stretch of beach area has also been rehabilitated,” Namdeb managing director Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi said yesterday.
“If one goes there now one would not imagine that those beaches were mining areas until recently,” Zaamwani-Kamwi told The Namibian in an interview.
“Land areas in the desert close to the coast have also been successfully restored, but it will take a while for the vegetation to regrow fully again.
“It must not be forgotten that diamonds have been mined there for over a century since 1908 and there is an environmental legacy left since the German colonial times. We’re attending to that with our rehabilitation efforts,” Zaamwani-Kamwi said.
“The footprint left was large, but we are very serious with our restoration efforts. We actually exceeded the Namibian requirements for rehabilitation.”
All the scrap metal from old mining equipment has been removed as well.
“We contracted SA Metal Namibia and they removed the scrap,” according to the MD.
In 2009, about 41 000 tons of saleable scrap metal was removed from over 60 scrapyards located in Mining Area One.
“Roads which had been used by mining trucks are getting swept clean so that no traces are left once we have completed mining in an area.”
Namdeb is a stakeholder in the Sperrgebiet land use plan. Sperrgebiet is the German word for ‘restricted area’, which has been used to refer to the diamond fields for the past 100 years.
“With parts of the Sperrgebiet opened up for tourism, there is an agreement with the relevant authorities to leave some pockets of erstwhile mining areas for tourism. There is a huge interest in mining tourism.
“People want to look at old mining sites and old mining towns. The issue is how to strike the best balance between conservation and rehabilitation,” according to the Namdeb MD.
The ghost town of Kolmanskop near Lüderitz is a permanent tourist attraction and so is the old mining site at nearby Elisabeth Bay.
With Namdeb scaling down its land operations, its rehabilitation plan covers components like pollution, infrastructure, landscaping and biodiversity.
This plan was approved by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.