Farmers advised on whatto expect from miners

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) has advised its members that prospecting and mining on commercial farmland requires potential prospectors to provide the relevant documentation to show they have permission from the requisite ministries.

This is to avoid any conflict between farmers and miners over prospecting and other land rights.

“There is a process to be followed to ensure an orderly procedure complying to legislation and provisions have been set up for any such activities,” notes the NAU, highlighting that farmers need to be informed of their rights.

According to NAU, farmers should request valid copies of an exclusive prospecting licence, environmental impact assessment (EIA), environmental clearance certificate (ECC), and all applicable drilling permits from any potential prospector prior to signing any landowner agreement.

“Landowner agreements should be customised individually by each farmer,” notes the NAU.

Summarising the prospecting and mining process, NAU says the application for an ECC is submitted to the competent authority.

The environmental assessment practitioner (EAP) must conduct a three-week public consultation process by means of notice board(s)/laminated poster(s) put up at conspicuous places to the public (boundary/fence of site, or in town/village).

The EAP must prepare a draft scoping and environmental management plan (EMP) report taking input from interested and affected parties (I&AP) into account.

In addition to this, written notice must be given to owners and occupiers of land adjacent to the site or to an alternative site; the local authority council, regional council and traditional authority; any other organ of state having jurisdiction in respect of any aspect of the activity as well as persons interested in or affected by the project.

“Such persons are to let the EAP know in writing that they wish to register as I&APs and should submit their issues and/or concerns in writing to the EAP,” notes the NAU.

Names and details of persons who attend a public meeting to be placed on the I&AP register and the EAP must make available the draft scoping and EMP report to all registered I&APs for comment.

The EAP must address all comments received and submit the final Scoping and EMP report to the competent authority, environmental commissioner and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

The environmental commissioner is to determine the scope, procedures and methods for detailed EIAs or issue an ECC and inform all interested parties who have the right to appeal to the environment minister, within 14 days from the date of receipt of notification of a decision.
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