Namibia emphasizes groundwater protection amid mining concerns-Xinhua

Namibia emphasizes groundwater protection amid mining concerns

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-17 21:54:16

WINDHOEK, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Namibian Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform Carl Schlettwein on Monday highlighted the critical importance of safeguarding groundwater resources during a high-level meeting on the impact of uranium mining within the Stampriet Transboundary Aquifer System.

Schlettwein emphasized the imperative to prohibit activities that could contaminate groundwater in areas classified as highly vulnerable.

The minister pointed out that exploration drilling and mining operations in these sensitive zones could threaten both the quantity and quality of groundwater if not conducted with stringent safeguards. "Namibia is a dry country where water resources are scarce and vulnerable to pollution and over-exploitation."

He stressed the importance of adopting exploration and mining methods that do not endanger groundwater resources, aligning with the country's goal of ensuring sustainable water management amid economic activities.

His remarks came amid growing concerns over proposed uranium in situ leach mining in the Stampriet aquifer, which spans Namibia's borders into Botswana and South Africa.

Schlettwein highlighted the need to tighten regulations on uranium mining to protect the critical transboundary aquifer, which supplies water to around 80,000 people and is also used for agriculture and industrial activities in Namibia.

He underscored fears of groundwater contamination arising from extensive exploration activities, warning of possible environmental consequences.

Schlettwein further reiterated the government's commitment to protecting water resources. "Our job is to ensure that the extraction of mineral resources from freshwater aquifers does not harm Namibian society now or in the future, but instead benefits us."