ReconAfrica expands seismic surveys

Concerns being ignored – again

21 September 2021 | Environment

Windhoek • [email protected]

The Namibian Ministry of Environment and the Canadian gas and oil exploration company Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica) initially claimed that the seismic survey in the Kavango regions would be a one-time thing.
The intention was to survey along existing paths. However, now a lack of information seems to be leading to further surveys being carried out.
Once again, concerns by environmentalists about the forest and protected area as well as the elephants residing in Kavango, are being ignored.
The developing situation in the north-east of Namibia is angering observers because representatives of ReconAfrica are no longer even trying to pretend that they want to adhere to Namibian legislation.
In a progress report, James Granath said that some changes would be made to the 2D seismic survey: “We will again measure the distance of 450 kilometers. But we're going to do more - there is a plan and it is being approved. We have been asked to cut firebreaks and we are allowed to collect seismic data.”
In reaction, an anonymous ReconAfrica critic stated: “The environmental impact assessment submitted for the 2D seismic and the clearance certificate do not include any clearing.”
ReconAfrica assured the public in April 2021 that 95% of the surveys would take place along existing pathways. Only 5% of the seismic survey lines - i.e. about 22.5 km - should therefore be levelled.
This alteration allows ReconAfrica to clear untouched Kavango forest for many kilometers and to carry out 2D seismic surveys: “This finding (Granath’s) alone should lead to the cancellation of the original permit. This is an extremely worrying development,” the critic said.
According to the ReconAfrica information sheet on seismic surveys, a Polaris Explorer 860 device that has been used in more than ten projects in East Africa – including the Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda – will be utilised.This contradicts studies by specialists like Richard Pearson and Terence Dawson (and other study officers) who had observed in that park that herds of elephants were disturbed by the seismic recordings carried out there. The animals would either migrate to other habitats or even take greater risks by entering plantations and fields.

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