Hundreds of residents of Uis and Daures Constituencies staged a demonstration against alleged illegal mining and exploitation of natural resources as well as environmental damage by the Chinese-owned Tangshan Xingfeng Spodumene Mining Company.

Namibia is not for sale! Namibia is ours! These were the words of angry residents of a vast, empty, semi-arid desert area about 70 kilometers outside the settlement of Uis.

They are claiming that the company is exporting the country's resources in an exploitative manner.

The residents accused the company of not carrying out an environmental impact assessment, resulting in the community being kept in the dark on how they will benefit in the long run.

They, therefore, called for the operation at the mine to be stopped until the matter had been resolved.

Residents vowed to take unspecified action against the company if the operations were not stopped.

Reading the petition on behalf of the community was activist Jimmy ||Areseb. "The 30 days that the Minister of Mines and Energy has provided the company to respond to allegations regarding the acquisition process of the EPL reflect the total negligence and relaxed behavior our government portrays in protecting our resources for sustainable use to benefit future generations."

They say that the traditional authority does not have the right to consent over environmental management and must avoid allowing investors to start their operations without consulting the conservancy and all affected parties.

"Before any activity is executed on our land, as it is creating conflict between suitable investors and the community, thus delaying and hindering the smooth operations of the investors."

They further demanded that the company compensate their conservancy with a fee of N$ 5,000,000 for neglecting its presence and operating in its sensitive area without proper consultation and agreements.

The petition was handed over to the assistant Site Manager, Frans Tjazamo, who promised to forward the petition to the relevant authorities.
Uis is located at the foot of Brandberg Mountain and is home to about 3,000 inhabitants.



Stefan Uirab