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AfrOil: Namibian court denies NGOs’ request for Kavango exploration halt

The High Court of Namibia has ruled that the Canadian company Reconnaissance Africa (ReconAfrica) and its local partner, National Petroleum Corp. of Namibia (NAMCOR), may proceed with exploration work at PEL 73, a block in the Kavango basin in the north-eastern part of the country.

The court, led by Justice Thomas Masuku, issued a judgment to this effect on July 29. It took this step a little more than two weeks after the first hearing on a case filed by environmental groups against ReconAfrica, NAMCOR and multiple Namibian government agencies.

The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had filed the suit on July 13 in a bid to halt work at PEL 73 on the grounds that the companies had not taken adequate precautions to guard against environmental harm and had not properly notified all residents of communities affected by the project. In response, SNC, the Namibian law firm representing ReconAfrica, argued that the NGOs lacked standing to initiate the lawsuit and that the request for an interim interdict was not urgent enough to require immediate judicial action.