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Nedbank sets pace in mining environs debate
WINDHOEK – Renewed interest in mineral resources brings to the fore the management and protection of the environment, and one of the country’s commercial banks, Nedbank, is stirring up debate so that the issue is publicly discussed.
Important questions deal with the rehabilitation of mine areas once mining activities cease, as well as the habitat protection from possible pollution.
Another key concern that should take central place in the debate is the usage of water, a scarce commodity in this parched country, where several mines require voluminous amounts of water for the processing of minerals.
Another important environmental aspect is the consideration of the future of towns that come into existence because of the mining activities in an area.
Nedbank has been leading the debate on environment protection with public lectures and would have another symposium on the topic next week.
"We have to learn to manage the delicate balancing act between economic, social and environmental concerns when it comes to the mining industry.
"Namibia needs to ensure that its mining industry continues to grow and flourish to continue to provide us with economic security, but this has to be mitigated against managing the social and environmental impacts that mining has on our society and our environmental heritage," says Nedbank’s Executive for Corporate Marketing and Communications, Rector Mutelo.
Nedbank Namibia manages the Go Green environmental protection fund, using a small portion of the proceeds from its various products to clients.
It is through the fund that Nedbank has been able to provide and share quality information on key environmental concerns.
"The balancing act between protecting our environment, developing our people and growing our economy requires investment from many stakeholders in order to ensure that we secure a bright future for our country," says Mutelo.
The bank says the mining sector’s contribution to the economy should not detract from the fact that the mining process has the potential to impact on the environment and health of communities living in the general vicinity of mining operations.
Mining has been the backbone of the Namibian economy since the establishment of the first mining activities in Walvis Bay in 1855, with diamond and uranium mining being the current major activities in the country.
However, there are other mining activities for base metals such as copper, lead, zinc and industrial mining of mineral salt, graphite, marble, fluorspar and limestone.
Not to forget the semi-precious stones of rose quartz, amethyst, agate and tourmaline, as well as the dimension stones such as granite and marble.
by Desie Heita
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