An article written by Nelendhre Moodley in SA Mining is attached as PDF.
An article written by Nelendhre Moodley in SA Mining is attached as PDF.
The FSE's Keynote Address at the Australian Centre of Geomechanics’ 22nd International Conference on Paste and Tailings
The FSE recently presented a keynote address at the Australian Centre of Geomechanics’ 22nd International Conference on Paste and Tailings. Please find attached hereto the programme and the FSE’s paper.
SUCCESS: ATHA’S PETITION TO THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL FOR LEAVE (PERMISSION) TO APPEAL THE PROTECTED AREAS JUDGEMENT DENIED! The High Court, in January 2019, dismissed Atha’s application for leave to appeal. Atha petitioned the SCA for leave to appeal the Protected Areas judgement that was obtained in the High Court in November, 2018 by a Coalition of NGOs, of which the FSE is a party to. The SCA dismissed Atha’s petition for leave to appeal, with costs. This means that Atha doesn’t have permission to appeal the Protected Areas judgement and is required to pay the costs incurred in opposing the petition. The Court Order is attached. The judgment secured in November 2018 remains intact. For background: In 19 March 2019 the CER on behalf of the Coalition lodged the Coalition’s answering affidavit to Atha’s petition with the SCA. Attached is the affidavit. Atha was entitled to reply to the Coalition’s answering affidavit by 2 April 2019, but they did not exercise that right.
Find the following documents attached for donwload: FSE comments on EIA EMPR Cold Gold Trading PTD Ltd - FSE Appeal Response Report FSE Objection to the Water Use License Application - Authorisation - Palmietkuilen Mine FSE Comments - Reclamation of City Deep Dumps - Draft Scoping Report FSE Comments - Reclamation of Rooi Kraal Dumps - Draft EIA Report The Reclamation and Reprocessing of City Deep and Rooi Kraal Dumps in Johannesburg Gauteng Province.
An article written by Nelendhre Moodley in SA Mining is attached as PDF.
Information on The Gauteng EIA Sector Stakeholder Seminar & The Department of Water and Sanitation, Directorate: National Water Resource Planning - Strategy Steering Committee (SSC) meeting
INFORMATION ON: The Gauteng EIA Sector Stakeholder Seminar, which was held on the 12 March 2019; and The Department of Water and Sanitation, Directorate: National Water Resource Planning - Strategy Steering Committee (SSC) meeting for the continuation of the Integrated Vaal River System Reconciliation Strategy Study – Phase 2, which was held on the 13th of March, 2019. The FSE is in possession of the subjoined presentations and supporting documentation pertaining to the Gauteng EIA Sector Stakeholder Seminar, which the FSE will forward on request. The FSE’s presentation is attached hereto. These documents include: The Phased Activities Explanatory Document, updated in February 2015. Presentations from: 1. EAPASA and 2. The Federation for a Sustainable Environment. The following Explanatory documents: EIA Validity Period Explanatory Document Clearance of Indigenous Vegetation Explanatory Document Decommissioning Explanatory Document Regulation 54A Explanatory Document The Activities and Time-Lines Document. This document will assist in understanding Section 24G applications and / or identification of listed or specified activities (if any). DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT GAUTENG (GDARD) PROVINCIAL ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK STANDARD GDARD: Presentation of the Mapping of Environmental Decisions Presentations by Department of Mineral Resources (North West, Western Cape and KZN) (attached) – unfortunately DMR (Gauteng Region) did not present Presentations of DEA: IPS and NEMA Section 24G Waste Management Licencing CSPS Admin EIAs Energy Applications Explanatory Document for GNR 779 Annexure A: Published Notice –GNR 779 of 1 July 2016 Annexure B: Electricity Regulations on New Generation Capacity Annexure C: Renewable Energy Determination Annexure D: Coal and Hydro Determination Annexure E: Gas Determination Annexure F: Cogeneration Determination Annexure G: Nuclear Determination The FSE is a member of the Department of Water and Sanitation’s Steering Committee for the Continuation of the Integrated Vaal River System reconciliation Strategy Study – Phase 2 and participated in the 2nd SCC which was held on the 13th of February, 2019. The Agenda included the following Items: Study Progress Overview Parallel National and International Processes National Water and Sanitation Master Plan ORASECOM Climate Resilient Water Resources Investment Strategy and L-BWT project Strategy Interventions (Current Status) Water conservation/water Demand Management (Urban Sector) Rand Water Project 1600 City of Tshwane Water Resources Master Plan Implementation Irrigation Management i. Eradication of Unlawful Irrigation ii. DWS Water Management Plans iii. Implementation of LHWP Phase 2 iv. Noordoewer/Vioolsdrift Dam Feasibility Study v. Water Quality Management Implementation of Long-Term AMD Solution Dilution Assessment Water Quality Management Strategy TOR 4. Water Balance Status The FSE will supply the above-mentioned presentations on request.
A Battle to Hold Mining Company Accountable Mintails left behind a R460 million ‘environmental mess’ Saturday Star | 23 Feb 2019 | SHEREE BEGA MINTAILS, a gold mining company on the West Rand, has long been red-flagged for causing environmental damage at its operations. | BHEKIKHAYA MABASO African News Agency (ANA) MARIETTE Liefferink toys absently with the faux gold necklace coiled tightly around her neck like a scarf. “Perhaps, if people ask me, I can say we can all look pretty with imitation gold,” she says, flashing a smile. The 65-year-old mining activist does not wear real gold – and she never will. The reason lies all around her here on the polluted gold fields of the West Rand. Today, the chief executive of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) is showing the R460 million environmental “mess” left behind by Mintails, a liquidated gold mining and tailings processing company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. She gestures to a cluster of unrehabilitated mine dumps on Main Reef Road. “At all their sites, there’s no access control, no stormwater and dust control or any other mitigation or management of the dumps and tailings storage facilities. This has created opportunities for zama zamas to conduct their mining operations.” For the past 12 years, Liefferink’s quest has been to obtain “justice for communities, future generations and the mute receiving environment” affected by Mintails expansive operations stretching across Krugersdorp and Randfontein. She has spent hundreds of hours compiling complaints and requests to authorities for investigations and enforcement, lodging Promotion of Access to Information Act requests and analysing water quality results. The embattled firm applied for business rescue in October 2015, but was liquidated in September last year. It has an unfunded environmental liability of R485 million, but only around R25 million financial provision in its environmental rehabilitation funds. The “delinquency”, argues Liefferink, is not only on the part of the firm and its directors but also the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) for their non-enforcement of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), National Water Act and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). “The DMR, as well as the DWS, allowed Mintails to operate from 2012 to 2018 without a mining right, an approved environmental management programme report and financial provisions.” While the DMR and DWS issued the company with several pre-directives and directives for non-compliance since 2013, these were not enforced. “This resulted in this unfunded environmental liability of R460 million, clusters of open pits of 40m deep, partially reclaimed tailings storage facilities, unrehabilitated footprints and toxic and radioactive dams.” Last week, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), which represents the FSE, sent a final letter of demand to the DMR and DWS, to urgently intervene in addressing Mintails’ pollution. If the departments did not adequately respond by yesterday, the matter will head to court imminently. The letter states that the DMR and DWS must enforce their directives as a matter of urgency and provide a date by when compliance must be achieved by the liquidators and directors. “The DWS, the Mintails Group and their violations was an agenda item on every Wonderfonteinspruit catchment management forum meeting with minutes taken. No action was taken by DWS,” states Lucien Limacher, the acting regional director of the LRC, in the letter. The letter demands that the DMR and the DWS must issue new directives to the liquidators and directors of Mintails to start remedial action and “contain the toxic sludge that is currently polluting and degrading the environment as a matter of urgency”. Further damage is allegedly being caused by continuing open pit mining. The DMR “must take reasonable measures to remedy the situation” or apply to a competent court should the Mintails Group not comply or inadequately comply with the directives. “Should the Mintails Group not comply with the directives, in terms of NEMA, the DMR (must) issue an ex parte application against the Mintails Group to attach and seize property and cover the expenses of the rehabilitation in terms of section 45 of the MPRDA.” The letter also states how the DMR and the Commission and Intellectual Property Commission “must hold accountable the directors of Mintails for the rehabilitation infringements by bringing a delinquency application” under the Companies Act. “The directors have grossly abused the position of director, intentionally or negligently, inflicted harm upon the company and the subsidiaries, acted in a manner that amounted to gross negligence and have repeatedly been personally subject to directives from the DMR and DWS.” In November, a report by the Parliamentary portfolio committee on mineral resources stated how the DMR had failed to ensure Mintails had made the required provision to repair over R300m of environmental damage. The report was sparked by a probe into Mintails collapse by investigative environmental journalism unit, Oxpeckers. “The committee is often confronted by instances of the devastation caused by careless mining where the DMR says it is a state liability because no one can be found to take responsibility. “In the case of the Mintails operation, this mine went into business rescue in 2015, at a time when the mining company had an unfunded environmental liability of over R300m. It had saved barely R20m for all its responsibilities.” The committee’s report noted how Mintails disputed its environmental liability, employing consultants who offered estimates far lower than those of the DMR. The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), which conducted a site visit in December as the waste had a “radioactive/nuclear element, according to the FSE, says an internal process is under way. “You can rest assured that the NNR will play its regulatory role and discharge its responsibilities in accordance with its mandate regarding this matter,” it says. Sputnik Ratau, spokesperson for the DWS, explains how it issued Mintails with a pre-directive in November 2017. “This required Mintails to cease the seepage of Lancaster Dam wall, clean historic spillages along the reclamation pipeline, rehabilitate the wetlands in the proximity of its tailing storage facility and address inadequate stormwater management.” But the Mintails response to the pre-directive was “deemed unsatisfactory” by the DWS in a letter dated June 28 2018.” The firm then submitted a detailed implementation plan to curb the pollution to the DWS on July 2. However, when Mintails was placed under provisional liquidation in August last year, this “derailed all the progress that was achieved through the pre-directive process”. The DWS is now seeking legal advice internally. “Does the issued pre-directive and commitment made by Mintails carry over to the liquidators, directors and business rescue practitioner? Are the directors and business rescue practitioner legally obliged to comply to the issued pre-directive and implementation plan submitted by Mintails? “Are the liquidators legally obligated to deal with operational issues such as a directive and pollution considering that they are appointed for a limited period to collect all the assets of the mine to settle the claims of its creditors and distribute any of the remainder of the assets to the shareholders of the mine.” The DWS was previously advised in a similar case that it is not the duty of liquidators to manage the day to day business. “Their objective is to realise assets on behalf of creditors. As such, liquidators cannot be directed to manage pollution.” Liefferink worries about impunity. “It would appear when a mining company is in business rescue or liquidation, then the directors and liquidators have no duty of care and simply walk away. The environment, future generations and communities must carry the impact, as in the case of Blyvoor and Aurora. That is totally contrary to the polluter pays principle.” Ratau says the DWS would conduct a site investigation with the liquidators yesterday to “verify the allegations of pollution”. The mandate of rehabilitation rests with the DMR. “However, DWS is engaging the DMR to ensure that water resources are protected.”
The Legal Resources Centre sent a final letter of demand to the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Water and Sanitation to urgently intervene in addressing Mintails’ pollution
The Legal Resources Centre, which represents the FSE, sent a final letter of demand to the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Water and Sanitation, on the 14th of February, 2019 to urgently intervene in addressing Mintails’ pollution. If the departments do not adequately respond by the 22nd of February, 2019, the FSE shall proceed to initiate legal action. Letter of demand and annexures attached for download.
NEWS | MPUMALANGA New blow for would-be Mpumalanga coal miner 29 January 2019 | By John Yeld Surprise move by MEC for Environmental Affairs Vusi Shongwe A new blow has been dealt to attempts to open a coal mine in protected Mpumalanga grasslands. Photo: supplied A surprise, flip-flop decision by Mpumalanga MEC for Environmental Affairs Vusi Shongwe has delivered another blow to an Indian mining company trying to establish a huge new coal mine in a critical water catchment area. Shongwe’s decision has reignited a vicious Twitter exchange about the proposed mine. Atha-Africa Ventures, a local subsidiary of India-based transnational mining and minerals company Atha Group, is attempting to develop the Yzermyn coal mine, an underground mine with a projected 15-year-lifespan that lies within the Mabola Protected Environment (MPE). The MPE was proclaimed in January 2014 to help protect a strategic water catchment and crucial biodiversity area of the highly threatened Mpumalanga grasslands and wetlands. In November last year, during a legal challenge to the mine, Shongwe suddenly published a Notice of Intention in the Provincial Gazette to exclude three of the properties that make up the proposed coal mine from the protected environment – a move that would have effectively paved the way for mining. In an affidavit, Shongwe explained that he had been approached during March 2018 by members of the local community with a request to exclude the protected properties. But in mid-December – and equally unexpectedly – Shongwe signed a new notice to withdraw his original Notice of Intention, with no reasons being given for his change of heart. That decision was published in the Provincial Gazette on 25 January. The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) had filed a 22-page objection to the proposed excision of the coal mining properties from the MPE, pointing out that Shongwe’s plan was to facilitate the development of the proposed Yzermyn coal mine. The CER said that, as part of his initial rationale for wanting to excise the properties from the protected area, Shongwe had included a memorandum dated 6 March 2018 from a Volksrust-based civic organisation, the Voice Community Representative Council, that purported to represent the majority of people living in the Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Municipality. The memorandum, that had raised “serious concerns” about declaring the Mabola Protected Environment, had been accompanied by a petition signed by some 8,500 community members, Shongwe said. However, the CER pointed out in its objection that the petition was dated 30 August 2013, and had been submitted to then environment MEC “Pinky” Phosa when she was considering declaring the Mabola Protected Environment. “The Petition is of little, if any, relevance to the Exclusion Notice presently before the Honourable MEC [Shongwe],” the CER argued. Responding to an invitation by GroundUp to comment, Atha-Africa said it had not made any representations on Shongwe’s original Notice of Intention and did not have any comment on the matter. “Atha is aware that the community of Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme opposed the declaration of the Mabola Protected Environment in 2014 and a petition was signed by over 9,000 community members against the declaration. Only the local community can comment if this latest decision to withdraw the notice of intention to exclude properties from Mabola Protected Environment has the community’s buy-in or not,” the company said. However, that careful response was in sharp contrast to what transpired on Twitter. Environmental journalist Elise Tempelhoff posed a question to Atha-Africa senior vice-president Praveer Tripathi on Twitter, asking whether Shongwe’s latest decision meant that Atha-Africa had now “given up” on Mabola. The head of the Voice Community Representative Council, Thabiso Nene, who tweets as @madlokovu15, jumped in with a reply, labelling Tempelhoff’s question “disgusting”. In a second tweet to Tempelhoff, Nene said: “Fun hw u have been absent when community was rejecting CER [Centre for Environmental Rights]. Bt not surprise yo kind tell the story of the elite. Watch the next move of the community. We will not rest till we have our democratic way. Even if Atha give up, community will not quite [quit].” Both Nene’s tweets also tagged Tripathi, who has waged a bitter Twitter war against opponents of Atha-Africa’s proposed coal mine but who insists that his tweets reflect his personal views and not his company’s. Tripathi tweeted several times, tagging both Tempelhoff and Nene. One of his Tweets reads: “If the community gives up it would mean that a handful of foreign funded anti-development anti-people CSO’s [Civil Society Organisations] with media in their support can stop any development and employment with their slick lies. Their tactics are abominable but what’s more sick is that media can’t see it.” In other tweets, he makes new derogatory and defamatory remarks about the CER, which is representing the eight members of a Coalition opposing development of the proposed coal mine. This was despite Tripathi telling the Minerals Council of South Africa (formerly the Chamber of Mines) – in response to a formal complaint to the council by the CER – last year that he would be “more sensitive” in his social media comments about those opposing his company’s attempt to mine coal at Yzermyn.
This Economic Impact Assessment Report is one of the additional specialist studies requested by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in 2018 for the Basic Assessment Report (BAR) process being conducted for the Tja Naledi Barrage Sand Mine, located along the banks of the Vaal River, on the northern boundary of the Ngwanthe Local Municipality in the Fezile Dabi Magisterial district, Free State Province. While it has not been possible to undertake a strategic economic assessment of suitable land use developments for this area (as requested by the local Federation for Sustainable Environment (FSE) during the assessment process), this Economic Impact Assessment has gone beyond the normal scope of assessing the positive economic impacts of the proposed mining amendment, and considered the negative economic impacts. The Report concluded: “Our recommendation is that DMR carefully consider how they will ensure the effective management of the cumulative impacts of sand mining in this and other areas along the Vaal River. To do this, it will be necessary to develop a regional perspective on the existing sand and gravel mines as well as the applications for mining rights, and develop a regulatory strategy that can manage the number of mines in each locality and the economic impacts on other economic activities. With respect to the current applications by Tja Naledi and Pure Source, the economic impacts of these mines on existing economic activities and the marginal economic situation for these mines, suggests that it would not be appropriate to approve these mining applications at this stage. Alternatively, they could be approved subject to the mitigation measures recommended and included in their EMPs, if and when the mine’s business financials are proven to be viable (given the broader market context) and can cover the cost of the mitigation measures that are needed to minimise the visual, noise, dust and traffic impacts. This may encourage the mining companies to look for sand mining opportunities in areas where the visual, noise, dust and traffic impacts are minor.” The above recommendations by the independent consultants (Eviro Works) are seen by the FSE, Vaal Eden Committee as significantly supportive of its arguments that sand mining is not the best practicable environmental option for the area. The Report is attached for download.
De Beers withdraws Groot Marico application SATURDAY STAR / 8 JANUARY 2019, 12:07PM / SHEREE BEGA One of the three eyes that supplies water to the Groot Marico River. PABALLO THEKISO Mining giant De Beers has withdrawn its application to prospect for potential diamond-bearing rock in the highly sensitive catchment of the Groot Marico River. This comes after a judicial review application was launched by a community organisation, Mmutlwa wa Noko, which works to maintain the integrity of the pristine river and its catchment, last year. Mmutlwa wa Noko launched the application after the now-deceased Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, dismissed over 140 appeals in 2016, against the environmental authorisation granted to the mining firm. “The Groot Marico, which is fed by dolomite eyes, is one of the last remaining surface-flowing fresh water resources in the North West,” said Mmutlwa wa Noko. “The waters of the upper Groot Marico River, across which the prospecting rights application falls, is so pure that it is safe to drink directly from the river. It is one of the few remaining free-flowing stretches of river in South Africa.” Last July, the Groot Marico Biosphere Reserve was declared by Unesco, becoming the first biosphere in North West, safeguarding its dolomitic aquifer system. In November 2015, De Beers had applied for environmental authorisation to prospect for kimberlite in the areas of Swartruggens, Mabaalstad/Koster and Groot Marico within the Groot Marico River catchment. “The application area lies immediately upstream of the town of Groot Marico and the adjoining township of Reboile, both of which are dependent on the Groot Marico River for water,” said Mmutlwa wa Noko. Prospecting was granted to De Beers in February 2016, and over 140 appeals were submitted. In December 2017, the appeals directorate of the Department of Environmental Affairs informed interested and affected parties that Molewa had dismissed the appeals. “On June 6, 2018, Mmutlwa wa Noko launched judicial review proceedings in the North Gauteng High Court against the minister, the regional manager of minerals regulation and De Beers. De Beers did not oppose. The minister and regional manager both opposed. “On October 23, our attorney was informed by the State Attorney that De Beers was excluding from their application the areas of Modderfontein, Vergenoeg and Wonderfontein, and also that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) was unconditionally withdrawing its opposition in this matter. On October 25, 2018, the State Attorney filed a notice of withdrawal for DMR. “At this stage, no notice of withdrawal has been submitted for the minister, but the minister's office has not submitted an answering affidavit within the time allowed by the High Court rules. “Accordingly, the matter has been set down on the unopposed motion roll for a judge to officially set aside the granting of the environmental authorisation on the first available court date, which is May 6. “This means that there will be no prospecting or mining by De Beers in the application areas within the Groot Marico River catchment. The judicial review application had the desired effect,” it said. The Groot Marico River catchment is a key strategic water resource for the North West and has been declared a national freshwater ecosystem priority area by the SA National Biodiversity Institute. The river is of international significance as it provides Gaborone with water and ultimately becomes the Limpopo River, which flows through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) also appealed the authorisation of the De Beer's application. “The reasons for our appeal were an alleged flawed public participation process and the fact that this matter resolves around the issue of prospecting in an area of highest biodiversity importance and a National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Area,” explained Mariette Liefferink, the chief executive of the FSE. The Saturday Star
Mineweb High Court refuses mining company’s leave to appeal A strategic water source area already protected by law is protected by the courts. Sasha Planting / 23 January 2019 00:41 Mining companies have left a heavy imprint on Mpumalanga, a biodiverse region vital to SA's water supply. Civil society is fighting back. Image: Supplied Yesterday the North Gauteng High Court refused mining company Atha Africa leave to appeal the court’s decision to set aside permissions for a new coal mine inside a declared protected environment. This is a victory for the eight civil society organisations represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), which have opposed the mining venture since 2015. At the time, then minister of mineral resources Mosebenzi Zwane and the late minister of environmental affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, granted Atha-Africa Ventures – an Indian-owned mining company – the right to mine coal in an area in Mpumalanga that was declared a Protected Environment in January 2014. Known as the Mabola Protected Environment, it was declared such by the Mpumalanga provincial government as part of more than 70 000 hectares of protected area in the Mpumalanga grasslands. This followed years of research and planning by a number of government agencies, including the department of environmental affairs, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency. Dubious decision In 2016, without public consultation and without notice, the two ministers gave their permission for a large 15-year coal mine to be built inside the Mabola Protected Environment. This was move was greeted with dismay by South Africa’s green lobby. The Mabola Protected Environment is situated outside Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga and falls within what has been classified as one of 22 Strategic Water Source Areas by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, a government body, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Strategic Water Source Areas constitute just 8% of SA’s land but provide more than 50% of our freshwater. “The organisations opposing this particular mine do so because the proposed mine would be inside a declared protected area and a strategic water source area: with acid mine drainage estimated to require water treatment until 2097, the mine would threaten water security not only in the local area but in the region,” says CER attorney Catherine Horsfield. “The damage that this mine would do to water resources cannot be undone. The organisations that have brought this action are deeply committed to job creation and improving the quality of life of local people, but we also know that instead of bringing wealth and livelihoods, coal mining has devastated the lives, health and well-being of communities across the Highveld.” In November 2018 the Pretoria High Court set aside the ministers’ approval and referred the decision back to them for reconsideration. Relying on the decisions of others The court set aside the decision on the basis that the decision-making process was not transparent, was procedurally unfair (there was no public participation process) and the ministers failed to independently and distinctively apply their minds to the decision, instead relying on the decisions of other decision-makers in relation to other approvals. In light of the lack of transparency and public participation, the court handed down a punitive costs order against the ministers and the MEC. Yesterday, the court heard Atha Africa’s application for leave to appeal the November decision to a full bench of the high court. The court refused Atha’s application and awarded costs against it. The ministers of mineral resources and environmental affairs, as well as the Mpumalanga MEC, had also applied for leave to appeal the court’s decision but withdrew their application yesterday. The court ordered that the state pay the coalition’s wasted legal costs in preparing to oppose that application. The coalition that brought the court application to set aside permissions for the proposed coal mine comprises the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of SA, groundWork, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, BirdLife SA, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, the Association for Water and Rural Development, and the Bench Marks Foundation.
THE FSE’s COMMENTS ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PLAN REPORT BLYVOOR GOLD MINING PROJECT BVG 4880
THE FSE’s COMMENTS ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PLAN REPORT BLYVOOR GOLD MINING PROJECT BVG 4880 Find the document attached for download.
FSE’s COMMENTS ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT FOR THE PROPOSED BLYVOOR GOLD MINE PROJECT NEAR CARLETONVILLE, WEST RAND, GAUTENG
FSE’s COMMENTS ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT FOR THE PROPOSED BLYVOOR GOLD MINE PROJECT NEAR CARLETONVILLE, WEST RAND, GAUTENG – please see attached.
On Thursday, the 8th of November 2018, the North Gauteng High Court set aside the 2016 decisions of former Mineral Resources Minister Zwane and the late Environmental Affairs Minister Molewa to permit a new coal mine to be developed in the Mabola Protected Environment near Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga. The case was brought by the coalition of eight civil society organisations challenging a range of authorisations that have permitted an underground coal mine in a strategic water source area and a protected area. The Mabola Protected Environment was declared under the Protected Areas Act in 2014 by the Mpumalanga provincial government as part of the declaration of more than 70 000 hectares of protected area in the Mpumalanga grasslands. This followed years of extensive research and planning by a number of government agencies, including the Department of Environmental Affairs, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency. In 2016, without public consultation and without notice to the coalition, the two Ministers gave their permission for a large, 15-year coal mine to be built inside the Mabola Protected Environment. The Court set aside the permission and referred the decision back to the two Ministers for reconsideration on the basis that the Ministers did not take their decisions in an open and transparent manner or in a manner that promoted public participation, and that the decisions were therefore procedurally unfair. The court criticised the Ministers for relying on the processes followed by other decision-makers instead of exercising their discretion under the Protected Areas Act independently, referring particularly to their failure to apply a cautionary approach when dealing with “sensitive, vulnerable, highly dynamic or stressed ecosystems” as “an impermissible abdication of decision-making authority”. The court also held that: “a failure to take South Africa’s international responsibilities relation to the environment into account and a failure to take into account that the use and exploitation of non-renewable natural resources must take place in a responsible and equitable manner would not satisfy the ‘higher level of scrutiny’ necessary when considering whether mining activities should be permitted in a protected environment or not. Such failures would constitute a failure by the state of its duties as trustees of vulnerable environment, particularly where it has been stated that ‘most people would agree, when thinking of the tomorrows of unborn people that it is a present moral duty to avoid causing harm to the environment'” (at 11). The permission for this mine given by Molewa and Zwane was the first in South Africa for a new mine to be permitted in a protected environment. Earthlife Africa, the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA), the Endangered Wildlife Trust, BirdLife South Africa, the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD), the Bench Marks Foundation and groundWork, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, challenged the late Environmental Affairs’ Minister’s and the former Minerals Minister’s decisions to allow this mine to go ahead. The court ordered that on reconsideration of the application for permission to mine in the Mabola Protected Environment, the Ministers are directed to: comply with sections 3 and 4 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA); take into account the interests of local communities and the environmental principles referred to in section 2 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) “with a strict measure of scrutiny”; defer their decisions on reconsideration until after the Environmental Management Programme and Water Use Licence appeals have been determined; not grant permission in terms of section 48(1)(b) of NEMPAA unless a management plan for the Mabola Protected Environment has been approved by the MEC in terms of section 39(2) of the Protected Areas Act and the management plan’s zoning of the area in which the intended mining is to take place permits such mining. The High Court expressed its criticism of “a disturbing feature in the conduct of the Ministers” and endorsed the submission made by counsel for the coalition that “ethical environmental governance and behaviour is enhanced simply by exposing it to the glare of public scrunity”. What resulted was “an unjustifiable and unreasonable departure from the PAJA presripts and lead to procedurally unfair administrative action.” The High Court ordered the Ministers and MEC to pay the coalition’s legal costs on an attorney and client (punitive) scale. “South Africa has long recognised that the grasslands of Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State are incredibly important to South Africa’s natural heritage. The grasslands are important water sources, and home to a range of production sectors that underpin economic development. In the case of Mabola, the Protected Environment falls inside a strategic water source area which feeds some of South Africa’s biggest rivers,” says Yolan Friedmann, Chief Executive Officer of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. “Moreover, protected areas not only help protect our biodiversity – particularly our incredible wildlife – and important natural ecosystems, but are also a key part of South Africa’s reputation as a global tourist destination.” Mashile Phalane, spokesperson for the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA) says: “This judgement is a victory for environmental justice. We want to see protected areas actually protected against mining by our government as custodians of the environment on behalf of all South Africans. This custodianship is violated if decisions that have such important consequences are taken behind closed doors. MEJCON-SA is deeply invested in issues of accountability. This judgement reinforces the fundamental importance of fair and transparent decision making.” Catherine Horsfield, attorney and mining programme head at the Centre for Environmental Rights, welcomed the judgement. “It confirms to government and to all developers proposing heavily polluting projects in environmentally sensitive areas in South Africa that exceptional circumstances must be shown to exist to justify that proposed development. South Africa is a water-stressed country, and the Mabola Protected Environment, where the coal mine would be located, has particular hydrological significance for the country as a whole. “The judgement also confirms the foundational principles of our law that went awry when the Ministers made their decisions to permit mining here. These are that no decision of this magnitude can be made unless a fair, proper and transparent decision making process has been followed.” THE NEMPAA JUDGEMENT IS ATTACHED FOR DOWNLOAD.
Mabola NEMPAA Judgement 8 November 2018. Document attached for download.
Draft report of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on its oversight visit North West and Gauteng on the 13 – 14 September 2018
Draft report of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on its oversight visit North West and Gauteng on the 13 – 14 September 2018. Find the pdf attached for download.
By Charlotte Mathews - July 27, 2018 Mine dump near Soweto ALL West Wits really wants is “a fair go” at mining responsibly, chairman Michael Quinert said on Thursday. He was addressing a media briefing to “bust some myths” that have arisen in local media about the ASX-listed group’s plans to mine for gold from open pits and underground near the suburbs of Florida in Roodepoort and Meadowlands East in Soweto. Local residents have formed action groups to fight West Wits’ application for a mining licence, expressing concerns about noise, dust, and water pollution. This is a very degraded area – a “moonscape”, in Quinlan’s own words – as a result of past mining. West Wits’ 6,000 hectare site is surrounded by old dumps which are tainting air and water and overrun by illegal miners or zama-zamas. The legacy of Mintails, another ASX-listed company that treated dumps near Krugersdorp and Randfontein, lingers in popular memory. Mintails was put into business rescue about three years ago, with huge unfunded environmental liabilities. Communities are opposed to West Wits’ plans because of the legacy they are experiencing from past gold mining, Mariette Liefferink, CEO of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) and a well-known local environmental activist, said. “Mintails left behind massive open pits with no fences or warning signs. Communities are no longer under-educated about the impact of mining and they have seen no medium to longer term benefits, only that future generations will inherit an irreparably destroyed ecosystem, acid mine drainage and dust from tailings storage dams,” she said. Quinert said West Wits’ assets were never owned by Mintails. The only connection between the companies was that Mintails held a stake in West Wits which was sold about a decade ago. Although it has no interest in taking over Mintails’ assets as dump processing is not its strategy, West Wits has an interest with other businesses in the area in addressing the problem of the dumps around its site and is making constructive suggestions on how to address it. West Wits believes by mining responsibly it can help to clean up the area by extracting the near-surface gold that is attracting artisanals and then sealing up the shafts that they are using to go underground. But some locals have argued that West Wits’ plans are threatening the livelihood of the zama-zamas and it would be a better solution to legalise them and allow them to mine on this site – or at least employ them. Quinert strongly disagreed. He said although the zama-zamas were good at finding the reef, they operated in a lawless universe, working hard and drinking hard, which did not make them ideal employees. “We do not believe they are good for the economy. They are too difficult to licence and regulate,” he said. BLASTING PROMISES West Wits is targeting a resource of about 3.7 million ounces showing an average grade of 3.6g/t to a cut-off depth of 400 metres. It plans to extract gold from various open pits, each with a life of six to eight months before it will be re-filled, for the first five years and then move underground from years six to 30. Profits from open pit mining will be used to fund underground development. Although West Wits is being blamed for blasting in the area, this is coming from a dynamite factory nearby and some artisanal activity, Quinert said. Open pit mining will not entail any blasting. West Wits will use a new technology called an Xcentric Ripper, which is attached to an excavator, and is about 30% quieter than a rock hammer. At this stage it is likely to blast once it goes underground in year six, if it cannot use the Ripper, but he expects those blasts will be too deep to be felt in surrounding residential areas. There will be no crushing or processing on site. West Wits will use the spare processing capacity in the area owned by companies like Sibanye. It will truck its ore to the processors and is working with property developers to take ore roads away from houses. There will be no tailings dam on this site. In its submission, the FSE suggested the most practicable solution would not be more open pit or deep underground mining, which creates risks for surrounding communities, but reclamation of the tailings storage facilities that belong to Mintails. BOJANALA EMF PES OF RIVERS AND DAMS - SUBMISSION BY FSE DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT ECOLOGICAL STATUS OF THE RIVERS AND DAMS WITHIN THE CROCODILE WEST/LIMPOPO WATER MANAGEMENT AREA The Reserve, which has priority over other water uses, provides for two components; (1) basic human needs, ensuring that the essential needs of individuals served by the water resource directly are provided for; and (2) the ecological reserve ensuring that the water required to protect aquatic ecosystems of the water resources is provide for. Providing for the ecological water requirements is a legal priority. Implementation of the Ecological Reserve is expected to result in serious deficits in the Crocodile West/Limpopo Water Management Area. The overall present ecological status of this Water Management Area is a D/E category due to industrial (including current mining activities), domestic and commercial effluents, sewage, dysfunctional Waste Water Treatment Works’ (WWTWs), agricultural run-off and litter, over-abstraction of groundwater and eutrophication problems. Much of the area has low rainfall with significant inter-dependencies for water resources between catchments and with neighbouring Water Management Areas, e.g. the Vaal. A large part of future potential mining is in areas of water scarcity. In some areas water is already ‘flowing’ from agriculture to mining. The biggest impact of mines is on water quality -a threat to the resource that cannot be brushed away. The DWS’ Report on the Classification of Significant Water Resources in the Crocodile (West) Marico WMA and Matlabas and Mokolo Catchments: Limpopo WMA and the DWS’ Business Case for the Limpopo CMA (September 2013) show a dramatic increase in water demands in this Area as a result of: Current mining activities and proposed mining activities Sasol’s proposed Maphuta coal to liquid fuel projects The exploitation of the vast coal reserves in the Waterberg; The expansion of the Grootegeluk mine to supply the new Medupi Power Station with coal; and Matimba and Medupi - three new Eskom power stations in the future Many of the rivers in this Water Management Area host important wetland systems, freshwater ecosystem priority areas and are important for water supply and biodiversity. Poor water quality does not only affect associated sediments and aquatic life, but has an effect on terrestrial ecosystems and the economy as well. Polluted water may also pose health threats to recreational and domestic water. Quantity of water is inextricably linked to water quality. Polluted water is not treated at source but is allowed to flow into rivers. South Africa is a water poor country with only 8.6% of its rainfall being available as surface water. There is therefore no opportunity for the dilution of polluted water. The DWS developed the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan, the classification of water resources, the determination of Resource Quality Objectives and the determination of the Reserve for the major water management areas such as the Crocodile West/Limpopo and Vaal Water Management Areas, the National Water and Sanitation Water Quality Strategy and Policy, the Mine Water Management Policy, etc. All these plans, strategies and policies exist in vain if they are not delivered through action and through the recognition that “you cannot drink paper plans”. PRESENT ECOLOGICAL STATUS OF THE MOKOLO, MATLABAS, CROCODILE (WEST) AND MARICO CATCHMENTS IN THE LIMPOPO NORTH WEST WATER MANAGEMENT AREA Upper Hennops and Rietvlei Rivers to inflow to Rietvlei Dam This is a threatened system. It includes wetland freshwater ecosystem priority areas, pans, peatlands and valley bottom wetlands. The present ecological status of the river is a D/E category due to urbanisation, return flows and poor water quality. The river reach is significantly impacted by agricultural activities, industrial and urban effluent discharges. The aquifer is highly impacted by land based activities and pollution. Rietvlei Dam This dam supplies Tshwane with raw water. Water quality impacts remain a threat to the system. Flow into the dam is supported by Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) discharges. The dam is located within the Rietvlei Nature reserve, which is an important protected area. The Rietvlei wetland system is situated immediately upstream of the Rietvlei Dam within the Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve. The wetland is a peatland. Hennops River from outflow Rietvlei Dam to the A21B catchment (including Sesmylspruit, Kaalspruit and Olifantspruit tributaries) This system is degraded owing to upstream waste water treatment works (WWTW). Includes the Sesmylspruit, Kaalspruit and Olifantspruit tributaries. The present ecological status of the river is a D/E category due to urbanisation, return flows and poor water quality. Upper Pienaars River, Edendalespruit and Moretlele Rivers to Roodeplaat Dam This system supports the supply of water to Roodeplaat Dam. Abstraction by Magalies Water indirectly tunnel (used by Tshwane). This system is degraded owing to upstream waste water treatment works (WWTW). The present ecological status of the river is a E category due to urbanisation, return flows and poor water quality. FEPA wetlands are present. The system is overall degraded with a present Upper Crocodile/Hennops/Hartebeespoort This dam is eutrophic with algal blooms impacting on the taste of the water. The dam is depended upon for the supply of raw water. It is a conservation area, and supports a wide range of recreational activities (international training for canoeists during summer). Toxic algal blooms are present. Severely impacted by WWTWs discharges, urbanisation and industrial effluent. Upper and middle reaches of Apies River, Skinnerspruit, Pienaars River from outflow Roodeplaat Dam to Boekenhoutpruit confluence, Roodeplaatspruit, Boekenhoutspruit The upper parts of the catchment are impacted by urbanization, irrigation runoff and WWTWs. The Ecological Importance and Sensitivity (EIS) is high. Jukskei, Klein Jukskei, Modderfonteinspruit It includes the headwaters of Jukskei. WWTWs located both upstream and downstream of these systems which includes the transfers for Mokolo (Lephalale). The systems are highly impacted from nutrient input thus threatening the biotic integrity of the systems. Serious water quality problems exist as the river is severely impacted by WWTWs discharges (from nine WWTWs), urbanisation and industrial effluent. The present ecological status is an E category. Upper reaches of Crocodile River and Bloubank Spruit This is the headwaters of the Crocodile River. Tourism activities are high. Water users include agriculture. The serious threat to the system is mining and the high salinity from the neutralised AMD from the western basin. The Tweelopiespruit flows into the Bloubankspruit and forms part of the Krugersdorp Game Reserve and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. The groundwater is heavily impacted by historic mine dewatering and historic discharges of acid mine drainage (AMD) into Tweelopiespruit and further downstream. Percy Stewart and Randfontein WWTWs discharge into this river system. Radioactive pollution has been identified. There is also excessive sedimentation of the rivers, and aquatic weed infestation. IUA 3 – Crocodile/Rooodekopjes Crocodile River from outflow Hartebeespoort Dam to inflow Roodekopjes Dam, Rosespruit, Ramogatla and Kareespruit The water resources are in a degraded state owing to the changes in the flow regime as a result of the Hartebeestpoort Dam just upstream. Madibeng and Magalies Water are dependent on this reach for water supply for consumers. The Rosespruit and Kareespruit are have water quality impacts (degradation due to mining impacts, informal settlements, irrigation return flows, industrial, chrome smelters). There are impacts from the Brits area as well. Hyacinth growth observed in the Crocodile river below Brits. Encroachment and sedimentation is extensive. Roodekopjes Dam Dam is a source of domestic water supply (25% allocated to Magalies water – transfer to Vaalkop via canal). T Impacted by surrounding activities (irrigation, mining and industrial). Hex/Waterkloofspruit/Vaalkop Sterkstroom from outflow Buffelspoort Dam to inflow Roodekopjes Dam, Maretwane, Tshukutswe Area forms part of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve. Resources are impacted by mining activities, settlements along the river and WWTWs discharges. Olifantsnek Dam Some water quality impacts are present in the dam. Hex River outflow Olifantsnek Dam to inflow Bospoort Dam, Sandspruit The water resources of the Hex River have been degraded due to the Olifanstsnek, Bospoort and Vaalkop Dams situated on the river. Rustenburg and extensive mining and agriculture in the middle reaches of the catchment further impacts on the water resources, both quality and quantity. Further impacts include urbanisation, irrigation return flows and discharges from WWTWs. Bospoort Dam Poor water quality currently present in the dam. Hex River outflow Bospoort Dam to inflow Vaalkop Dam The water resources of the Hex River have been degraded due to the Olifantsnek, Bospoort and Vaalkop Dams situated on the river, as well as upstream impacts. This reach includes localised subsistence use, game farms and domestic water supply. High conductivity observed. Impacts also due to settlements along river. Vaalkop Dam Magalies Water has requested more releases from Bospoort and Olifantsnek Dam to improve water quality in Vaalkop dam. Need to improve drinking water quality. Water quality is impacted due to industrial pollution, return flows, mining impacts, nutriennts (eutrophication). Elands/Vaaalkop Upper reaches of Elands to Swartruggens Dam Some sedimentation due to slate mining. Flow impacts present and poor sanitation is also impact on river system. Elands river downstream Swartruggens Dam to Lindleyspoort Dam This reach of the Elands River is located below dam. The reach is impacted upon by the WWTWs, urban activities, and diamond mining. Water quality deterioration is observed. Lindleyspoort Dam The upstream impacts include WWTWs. Upper Koster to Koster Dam, Rooikloofspruit Impacts include WWTWs, intensive cattle and poultry farming and unauthorised abstraction. Elands River outflow Lindleyspoort Dam to inflow Vaalkop Dam, Brakkloofspruit, Roosspruit, Sandspruit Mankwe. Leragane, Molapongwamongana The Mankwe tributary is protected in the Plianesburg National Park. These rivers are however surrounded by mining activities on Leragane (impacted). Tanneries are present in the town. WWTWs discharges impact on water quality. Klein Marico Upper Klein Marico to inflow Klein Maricopoort dam, Rhenosterfonteinspruit, Malmanieloop, Kareespruit Impacts on Kareespruit from WWTW, irrigation and over abstraction. Mining activities are present. Groundwater: Significantly impacted by bulk groundwater abstractions for municipal supplies; thus quantity and due to agricultural activities, quality may become an issue in future. Klein Maricopoort Dam Water quality impacts present. Klein Marico downstream Klein Maricopoort Dam to Kromellenboog Dam, Wilgeboomspruit Impacts include irrigation and over abstraction. Poor water quality due to irrigation return flows. Kromellenboog Dam Dam is impacted by upstream siltation, erosion, and nutrients. Groot Marico Groot Marico, Polkadraaispruit There is mine prospecting activities in the area and some settlements forming part of the town of Marico, agricultural activities present. Water quality is impacted in the lower reaches of the Marico river. Kaloog-se-Loop Marico Eye, Kaaloog-se-Loop, Bokkraal-se-Loop, Ribbokfontein-se-Loop, Rietspruit (southern eye), Kuilsfontein, Syferfontein and Bronkhorstfontein Groundwater: Large abstractions for mining, agriculture and municipal supplies - current problems with high groundwater level recession rates in the Lichtenburg Area. There are some sedimentation impacts due to mining in the area. Mine prospecting is also underway. Malmaniesloop Malmanie Eye, Dolomites Groundwater: Huge impact on groundwater sustainability due to growing demand for municipal and Bodibe Eye (Polfonteinspruit and Lotlhakane tributary catchment area) High groundwater abstraction in the area resulting in a decrease in groundwater which has further resulted in spontaneous combustion underground and the peatland oxidised and been burning for several years now, resulting in a loss of the peatland, and poses a health and safety hazard for people and livestock. Impacts include urban and settlement activities and cement mining. Serious depletion of groundwater levels in this area (~25m) due to over-utilisation. Large eyes (springs) already impacted and dry. Molopo Eye, Grootfontein Eye, Molopo headwaters to inflow Modimola dam Impacts include a cement factory and urban development (Mahikeng). Groundwater resources and wetlands are priority (unchannelled valleybottom wetlands and peatlands). The Molopo eye is a peatland and important for water supply and biodiversity support. Grootfontein aquifer not productive anymore, and all Mahikeng's water is sourced from Molopo's Eye, thus it is vital that the flow is maintained. Recreational activity in the area is also impacting on the eye. Molopo River mainstem only from Modimola Dam to Disaneng Dam Highly impact from urban settlement in Mahikeng which has resulted in a E present ecological status category. Serious problem with water pollution in Mahikeng and catchment of the Modimole Dam (WWTWs). Important wetland systems are present in this reach. Setumo (Modimola) Dam The WWTWs of Mahikeng is located just upstream of the dam which is impacting on the dam water quality. Poor water quality. Dinaseng Dam Discharge from Dinaseng for downstream trans-boundary use (into Botswana) is important. Dinokana Eye/Ngotwane Dam Upper Nogotwane, Donokana Eye Two important wetland systems occur namely the Dinokana eye and Ngotwana wetland (high biodiversity wetland in semi-arid climate with its source in Botswana) which both supply water for livelihood support for people, livestock and wildlife. Groundwater priority area. Groundwater related subsistence use. Water balance in this area is a concern as this is a sole-aquifer system for Dinokana and Zeerust. Water level of eye has dropped due to over abstraction. Ngotwane Dam Limited irrigation and supports downstream domestic water supply for villages. Dam is impacted from WWTWs discharge from Botswana. Water quality is a threat. Groot Marico/ Molatedi Dam Groot Marico from outflow Marico Bosveld Dam to Molatedi Dam, all tributaries The land area is degraded due to over grazing and development. Smaller dams are present on the tributaries supplying water to local communities (Pella Dam, Madikwe, Sehujane Dam). Water quality must be protected. Molatedi Dam Releases are made in respect of meeting the international obligations with Botswana and for downstream Groot Marico/ Seasonal tributaries Groot Marico mainstem, outflow Molatedi Dam, Rasweu, Maselaje rivers Impacts are primarily as a result of the Molatedi Dam upstream and the release pattern from the Tswasa Weir for irrigation purposes. Tributaries are mostly dry, recently there has been no releases made for Botswana. Riparian zone is heavily grazed. High sedimentation following rainfall events due to heavy erosion and overgrazing. Bierspruit Wilgespruit, Bofule, Kolobeng, Magoditshane, Motlhabe Area is very important from an ecotourism point of view (includes the Pilansberg National Park). The water quality is degraded due to mining activities, town development and irrigation in the catchment. Severe water quality impacts on the some of the tributaries, viz. Mothlabe and Wilgespruit. Water quality must be addressed. Bierspruit outflow Bierspruit Dam to confluence with the Crocodile River, Brakspruit, Phufane, Sefatlhane, Lesobeng, lower reach Bofule The water quality is degraded due to platinum mining, town development (sewage effluent), irrigation Lower Crocodile Crocodile River outflow Roodekopjes Dam to upstream Sand River confluence, Sleepfonteinspruit, Klipspruit tributaries Return flows are a major impact on the system. Proximity of mines to the aquifers could lead to dewatering of the aquifer. Sand River to confluence with the Crocodile River to Bierspruit confluence, Sondags, Vaalwaterspruit Irrigation return flows are a major impact. Lower Crocodile from Bierspruit confluence to the Botswana border (Limpopo River) The Thabazimbi WWTW discharges impacts on the water quality of the Crocodile River. There are also mining activities in the area. Tolwane/Kulwane/Moretele/Klipvoor Apies River, Tshwane tributary Water quality issues are prevalent, due to localised and upstream urban impacts. Pienaars River from Boekenshout confluence to Apies River confluence Magalies Water abstracts water for domestic supply on Boekenshoutspruit (klipdrift). The area includes sprawling peri-urban villages. Land use impacts include catlle in river habitat, and impacts from solid waste and sewage effluent. Important resource for the adjacent community. Moretele (Pienaars) River from Plat River confluence to Klipvoor Dam, Kutswane to Klipvoor Dam Water quality impacts are primarily a result of urbanization, specifically deterioration in water quality due to WWTWs discharges. Currently too much water is released from the Rietgat WWTW. Pienaars River from Klipvoor Dam to Crocodile Riverconfluence, Tolwane tributary The rivers are impacted by urban development and irrigated agriculture. The Tolwane river is significantly impacted. The rivers are impacted by high nutrient levels and eutrophication is evident. Extensive sand mining is also occurring in the area (largely unauthorised). Upper Mokolo Moloko River , Sand River and Klein Sand, Brakspruit, Sondagsloop, Heuningspruit, Dwars, Jim se loop tributaries The main impact on the water resource is irrigation return flows, WWTWs discharge from town and piggeries. The area is important as it plays a role as a corridor for fish (FEPA rivers). Important fish include CPRE, AURA and AMOS (flow dependent and water quality dependent fish species). Extensive wetland systems occur in the Sand River catchment which form important habitat for Blue Cranes. Important valley bottom and hillslope wetlands present forming part of the Waterberg system (unique combination of flora and faunal associations). Mokolo River to inflow Mokolo Dam, Taaibosspruit, Malmanies and Bulspruit tributaries Water quality issues present due to septic tanks used by the game lodges. Grootspruit and Sandspruit tributaries (Mokolo headwater catchment) The main impact on the water resource is irrigation return flows and WWTWs discharge from town of Alma. Extensive wetland systems occur in the area coupled with the area being a fish support area. Important habitat for Blue Cranes (which have been identified within the Sand River catchment). Sandloop Catchment area includes the Medupi and Matimba power stations, Grootegeluk coal mine, Maropong and Lephalale towns. Impacts on this system include coal mining, the power stations, coal bed methane extraction, impacts from the towns as well as agriculture. Water quality impacts are a concern, with deterioration observed. Serious impacts of local groundwater resources due to dewatering and future acid mine drainage discharges. Mokolo mainstem - Mokolo from below EWR3 to the Tamboti confluence Major sand mining is occurring within the Mokolo mainstem catchment. This has resulted in siltation and loosening of substrate. Mokolo mainstem - from Tamboti confluence to Limpopo Abstraction activities is high in this mainstem with sand mining being a considerable issue in the Lepahlale area. Matlabas Matlabas River This area has been earmarked for future coal mining developments. FEPA wetlands are present. Migratory corridor to the Limpopo for the bird species. There is the Matlabas peatland/mire and valleybottom wetlands present. Catchment area including Steenbokpan The Steenbokpan area has been earmarked for future coal mining in this area.  The catchment areas lie predominately within the North West Province and include the northern part of Gauteng as well as the south-western portion of the Limpopo Province. Towards the north west the area borders on Botswana. The main river systems within the catchment (Crocodile, Marico, Mokolo and Matlabas rivers) flow northwards to join the Limpopo River. Major tributary systems include the Pienaars, Apies, Moretele, Hennops, Jukskei, Magalies, Elands, Klein Marico, Molopo, and Ngotwane rivers. The Pilanesburg Nature Reserve, the Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site, the Marakele Nature Reserve, the Bafokeng Tribal area, the dolomitic wetland or eye systems and large dams such as the Hartbeespoort, Vaalkop, Roodekopjes, Klipvoor, Roodeplaat, Molatedi and Mokolo Dams are all very important features in the catchment area. The Pilanesburg Nature Reserve, the Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site and Hartbeespoort Dam are key tourist attractions in South Africa.  A D-Category indicates a largely modified river system and an E category indicates a seriously modified resource.  Reference: Determination of Resource Quality Objectives in the Mokolo, Matlabas, Crocodile (West) And Marico Catchments in the Limpopo North West Water Management Area (WMA 01) Resource Quality Objectives And Numerical Limits Report Report No.: RDM/WMA01/00/CON/RQO/0516. 2016.
2018-07-17 REGULATIONS FOR FINANCIAL PROVISION - FSE COMMENTS PURSUANT TO STAKEHOLDER MEETING AND MINUTES.
FSE's SUBMISSION PURSUANT TO THE MINUTES OF THE FPR AND NEMLA BILL STAKEHOLDER MEETING HELD ON 24 MAY 2018 We refer to the Minutes of the Stakeholder Meeting which was held on the 24May 2018 pertaining to the proposed FPR and NEMLA Bill. The following article has relevance to the FPR and NEMLA Bill. The article may be opened here as a PDF document.
With about 6,000 abandoned mines across South Africa, regulators are searching for answers to irresponsible mine closure. Mark Olalde reports Original article can be found here
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina have published the Proceedings Report for the Science-Business-Society Dialogue Conference II. The conference titled “Linking Science, Society, Business and Policy for the Sustainable Use of Abandoned Mines in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region” was held from 28 – 30 November 2017 at Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) participated in the Conference and delivered a presentation titled “Mining-Affected Communities: Risks, Expectations and Opportunities” on the third day of the Conference. The FSE is a signatory to the attached statement.
Proposed amendments as a result of the public comment period 24 May 2018
Snake Park Situated next to one of the world’s largest mine dumps, Snake Park near Soweto, is a community in distress with an unusually high number of Cerebral Palsy, respiratory diseases and inexplicable deformities in animals. With a growing body of evidence linking toxic dust in mine dumps to various illnesses in nearby communities, it appears environmental issues are to blame for these and other medical conditions. The circumstantial evidence is compelling, but there are still no empirical studies to make conclusive links. Carte Blanche searches for answers. Watch the video here. Children of the Mountain There is nothing that upsets me more than seeing people suffer, especially those who are less fortunate than most. People whose lives are riddled with poverty, crime and a lack of resources. What is even more heartbreaking, is to see the children raised in these circumstances, who have little hope and almost nothing going for them. It’s unfortunate that even after such a long time, we are still crippled by our past and suffocate from life due to inequality, economic imbalances and a government which seems not to care. Watch the video here
(Reg. No. 2007/003002/08) NPO NUMBER 062986-NPO PBO No. (TAX EXEMPT) 930 039 506 Postnet Suite 87 Private Bag X033 RIVONIA 2128 COMMENTS ON NATIONAL GUIDELINE ON MINIMUM INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS FOR PREPARING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENTS FOR MINING ACTIVITIES THAT REQUIRE ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATION The following comments are submitted on behalf of the Federation for Sustainable Environment (FSE) The FSE is a federation of community based civil society organisations committed to the realisation of the constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being, and to having the environment sustainably managed and protected for future generations. Their mission is specifically focussed on addressing the adverse impacts of mining and industrial activities on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who live and work near South Africa’s mines and industries. The FSE is a member of a significant number of governmental and academic forums, steering committees, task teams and teams of experts and its directors have two decades of experience with mining applications and environmental impact assessment processes.
PRELIMINARY COMMENTS ON THE BOJANALA PLATINUM DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY: ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
DESIRED STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT The following comments are submitted on behalf of the Federation for Sustainable Environment (FSE) The FSE is a federation of community based civil society organisations committed to the realisation of the constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being, and to having the environment sustainably managed and protected for future generations. Their mission is specifically focussed on addressing the adverse impacts of mining and industrial activities on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who live and work near South Africa’s mines and industries. The FSE’s comments, in line with its mission, are confined to the mining industry and in particular the platinum group metal producing mines in the Bonjanala Platinum District Municipality and mining applications and authorisation within the Marico River Catchment and its impacts upon the environment and water resources. Our concerns, comments and recommendations are motivated by recent environmental authorisations of mining applications within areas of highest biodiversity importance and the profound often irreversible impacts on eco-systems and sustainable future land use with associated resources such as water.  A number of applications for mining and prospecting has recently been authorised with the Marico River Catchment. The Groot Marico River is a key water resource, which is classified in the Ecological category A/B – largely natural. The upper reaches of the Groot Marico River are a river FEPA due to its clean, free flowing nature where the vulnerable Marico barb is found. The Quartenary Catchments A31A and A31B fall within a flagship NFEPA and the Catchment encompasses an Aquatic CBA 1 and terrestrial CBA. Certain areas within the catchment have already been declared protected areas and that the entire area is currently before UNESCO for consideration as a Biosphere Reserve. The river originates from the dolomitic eye of the Marico River (Kaalloog). The Groot Marico River forms the south-western headwaters of the Limpopo. The Catchment is the pumphouse of the Limpopo river. The Groot Marico River provides water to hundreds of thousands of downstream water users and the Molatedi Dam, which supplies North West’s premier Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve. The water is also pumped from the Tswasa Weir at the Dam to Gaberone in terms of the international Tswasa Agreement.
Presentations, including the FSE’s presentation, held at the conference “Linking Science, Society, Business and Policy for the Sustainable Use of Abandoned Mines in the SADC Region” are now accessible here: http://www.assaf.org.za/index.php/2-uncategorised/416-linking-science-society-business-and-policy-for-the-sustainable-use-of-abandoned-mines-in-the-sadc
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