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Objection: Sedibelo Platinum Mine Water Use Licence

Written by  Monday, 03 October 2016 19:00
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The Federation for a Sustainable Environment has objected to the Water Use Licence granted to Sedibelo Platinum Mine within the Moses Kotane Local Municipality, North West Province. 

An extract from the objection follows, and the full document is available to download. 

The Pilanesberg Platinum Mine (consolidated with the Sedibelo Platinum Mine) has commenced operations and diverted river systems without an authorised water use licences since 2009 to the 10th of October 2013, without a lawful water use licence.

The principles of the Water Services Act and the National Water Act were designed for equitable access to water, intergenerational equity, and to achieve the following: 

[...] redress the inequalities of racial and gender discrimination of the past; link water management to economic development and poverty eradication; and ensure the preservation of the ecological resource base for future generations.

The additional ground- and surface water impacts of the Project on the Lower Crocodile sub area may result in additional water security risks for the WMA.  The cumulative impacts in this regard have not been assessed.

The impacts of mines are cumulative and typically require several decades to take effect.  By the time environmental and socio-economic consequences become noticeable, the mines have typically closed or become insolvent and thus cannot be compelled anymore to contribute to remediation, either financially or through other actions.  These impacts are externalized to future generations, the environment and affected communities. 

In terms of the Terrestrial, Aquatic Biodiversity and Riparian Assessment Report of the Amendment of the Pilanesberg Platinum Mine’s EMP Closure Objectives, the re-diversion of the Wilgespruit and flooding of the Tuschenkomst Open Pit will have high impacts namely:

  • Loss of change in structure of riparian vegetation;
  • Loss of change in biogeochemical processes;
  • Loss of available habitat for faunal species and the resultant loss of species;
  • Loss of Conservation Important Species; and
  • Loss of available habitat for aquatic species.
  • Reduced functionality of the Heritage Park Corridor.  The proposed Heritage Park corridor narrows to approximately 1 km in width between Ngweding and the proposed flooded pit.  This 1 km stretch will include the rehabilitated waste rock dump, with less than 200m of natural vegetation remaining in the corridor.  The Open Pit, together with the rehabilitated Waste Rock dump, may result in a bottleneck within the Heritage park corridor for dangerous game.
  • The future mining activities of Sedibelo and Magazynksraal* will further limit the corridor width for non-dangerous game; and
  • Net loss of diversity.