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ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATION PROCESS FOR THE MIDDELVLEI MINE, RANDFONTEIN, GAUTENG MIDDELVLEI MINERALS (PTY) LTD

Friday, 12 July 2019 15:55
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Attached is a document compiled by the FSE for the Environmental authorisation process for the Middlevlei mine, Randfontein. 

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MINING

BACKGROUND INFORMATION DOCUMENT FOR COAL, PSEUDOCOAL & TORBORNITE MINING RIGHT APPLICATION, INTEGRATED WATER USE LICENSE APPLICATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATION

Background information document for coal, pseudocoal & torbornite mining right application, integrated water use license application and environmental authorisation, all portions (excluding portion 46, 74,& 90) of the farm Tenbosch 162 JU, all portions (excluding portion 01) of the farm Vyeboom 414 JU, all portions of the farm Turfbult 593 JU and all portions of the farm Tecklenburg's Ranch 548 JU, in the Magisterial district of Barberton, Mpumalanga Province.  Document attached for download.

SA NEWS

Mintails placed into final liquidation

BUSINESS DAY Mintails placed into final liquidation Department of Mineral Resources will join long line of creditors hoping to recoup money 20 September 2018 - 17:27 Lisa Steyn

BUSINESS DAY EXCLUSIVE: Liquidation allows Mintails to shirk environmental liabilities

21 August 2018 - 05:04 Mark Olalde   Pollution: Water resource management consultant Anthony Turton, with the Mintails gold plants and water treatment tanks in the background. Picture: BUSINESS DAY/FREDDY MAVUNDA Mintails Mining and several related companies have announced their liquidation, throwing into question the environmental rehabilitation of highly polluting operations near Johannesburg. Mintails mines and processes gold from a sprawling 1,715ha complex of waste piles and open pits in Krugersdorp and has for years been flagged for noncompliance. Its operations are bordered by informal settlements and suburbs housing thousands of residents, many of whom have complained of health effects, which they blame on radioactive dust and water pollution from Mintails’ mines. Records show that the cost to clean up the environment would be about R330m, but there is only R25.6m available. Observers fear that the situation could deteriorate further, as happened at the Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine, an abandoned large-scale operation on the West Rand. A case study in the country’s deeply flawed mine closure system, Mintails teetered on the verge of collapse for years and entered business rescue in October 2015. Mariette Liefferink, the activist CEO of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, tracked Mintails for more than a decade and is now working to intercede in the liquidation proceedings as the legal voice for what she labels the "mute environment". "There was poor planning. [Mintails’] due diligence was flawed. They overestimated the gold grade and the resource that could be reclaimed. "They continued to exploit the resource, to reclaim only the profitable parts and never top up the financial provisions," Liefferink says. As the company slips into liquidation, it passes the brunt of its environmental liability to taxpayers and, to an extent, to other mining companies. After Mintails fought for nearly three years to save the company, business rescue practitioner Dave Lake notified the Johannesburg high court in early August of his intention to liquidate the company. Provisional liquidation was granted on August 17 and a liquidator is expected to be appointed soon. THERE IS NO LONGER A REASONABLE PROSPECT OF RESCUING THE COMPANY. The business rescue plan called for the refurbishment of a gold ore processing plant but, according to a memo dated August 1 that Lake sent to the court and to affected parties, it failed when multiple investors ceased funding Mintails. "There is no longer a reasonable prospect of rescuing the company," the memo read. The liquidator will now decide how to pay back creditors with the remaining assets. Environmentalists fear this process could leave environmental liabilities low on the list of what deserves money. According to the business rescue plan, written in December 2016, Mintails owed various creditors more than R1bn, including a shortfall of about R300m in reclamation funding. Due to a web of involved companies, it remains unclear if a large portion of the already insufficient financial provisions can be accessed for environmental cleanup. DRDGold formerly held one of the mining rights and the corresponding trust fund, which are now in the Mintails group. DRDGold CEO Niël Pretorius says he believes that the trust fund contained R18m but he did not identify the trustees, whose consent is vital to unlocking the money. Documents show the Mintails group acknowledged that rehabilitation would probably cost between R300m and R336.5m, but it declined to top up financial provisions. According to the environmental management programme from one of Mintails’ mining rights: "These liabilities are also historic and predate Mintails’ involvement and should thus not be for Mintails’ account." Experts debate this narrow interpretation of the law. Lake wrote in the business rescue plan: "The Mintails group’s rehabilitation liabilities have remained largely unfunded for some time, and there are simply no free funds available to the [business rescue practitioner] to enable him to immediately provide such funding." Legal Resources Centre attorney Lucien Limacher is representing the Federation for a Sustainable Environment. "This is a trend that has been occurring for a couple of years where mining companies have undertaken a business rescue plan or have applied for liquidation because they have failed to really look after the rehabilitation fund," he says. The Legal Resources Centre sent letters to several government agencies, including the department of mineral resources, the department of water & sanitation and the department of energy, asking them to intervene in the situation and threatening to pursue legal action if the department of mineral resources fails to act. Department of water & sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau says they are "engaging Mintails so that the immediate measures can be put into place to ensure water resources protection. A longer-term plan is required to ensure rehabilitation of the mining-impacted areas." Lake declines to answer questions about the failed business rescue and the liquidation but he wrote for Moneyweb in January 2017 and laid out his argument for Mintails’ use of business rescue: "Mintails was sick – but it wasn’t terminal." Now the situation has become what Liefferink calls "pass the parcel", with Mintails playing the part of a "scavenger company", a term coined by researchers to describe under-resourced outfits that buy the scraps left over from larger mining companies and ultimately abandon them. Large gold, coal and platinum mines rarely, if ever, properly close in SA and there wasn’t one large-scale mine in Gauteng that achieved full, legal closure between 2011 and 2016. Mintails’ case will not affect the law that ring-fences financial assurances for reclamation, Limacher says. "But it is precedent-setting in that mines might now start applying for liquidation to avoid paying the cost of rehabilitation." Mintails’ West Rand concessions came in part from DRDGold, which also remines waste piles, and from Mogale Gold, which was in judicial management when Mintails acquired it in 2006. Since then, Mintails engaged in a pattern of environmental degradation. For example, the department of water & sanitation found in an August 2014 inspection that Mintails transported "slurry/sludge" in unlined trenches, completed insufficient monitoring, spilled slurry from pipelines and implemented no storm water management system at a pollution control dam. In December 2016, polluted runoff from waste piles was found to be seeping through a dam wall into the Wonderfonteinspruit, which has immediate downstream agricultural uses in the community of Kagiso. Now it will largely be up to the liquidator and regulators to protect the environment and public health. "That is the pattern that seems to be followed in the gold mining industry, and, I assume, would be followed in the coal and platinum mining industries, as well. "As soon as a mine is no longer very profitable, it transfers its assets," Liefferink says. "That seems to have the tacit support of the department of mineral resources." However, the department of mineral resources sent a statement that reads: "The department will engage with the appointed provisional liquidators with the intention to safeguard the environmental and social responsibilities." Mintails former CEO Johan Moolman declined to comment except to say he quit on June 26 when he learned a new investor had bought the company. Mvest Capital agreed to purchase Mintails from Paige, a vehicle of the UK-based Harbour family, with the understanding that Mvest would inject R30m into the beleaguered company to stimulate the business rescue plan. Mvest decided against handing over the full amount, paying only R5.5m. Mvest director Matthew Moodley acknowledges the initial agreement and the R5.5m. He says that after a month it became apparent the deal would require more investment to succeed. "With the increased need for working capital in July, Mvest took a decision to withdraw from the transaction," Moodley says, adding that Mvest did not "conclude a transaction with Paige". Liefferink says these companies are all "jumping from a sinking ship". She fears Mintails will go the way of the abandoned Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine, which was once one of the country’s most productive gold operations and is now a source of pollution, violent illegal mining gangs and headaches for adjacent mines. Mintails has followed a strikingly similar pattern. In the Blyvooruitzicht case, two companies, DRDGold and Village Main Reef, almost completed a business deal to sell the nearly exhausted mine and both walked away, claiming the other carried responsibility. "That whole area, just like Blyvooruitzicht, will be left like it is," Liefferink said. While neighbouring mining companies will probably have to pump water from the void in Mintails’ absence, the consequences of "the dust fallout and the toxic water in the river systems" will be carried by communities and by the municipality. oxpeckers.org Additional reporting by #MineAlert manager Tholakele Nene https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/mining/2018-08-21-liquidation-allows-mintails-to-shirk-environmental-liabilities/

WATER

FSE's CONCISE REPORT ON THE DEBATE ON THE MINISTER OF WATER AND SANITATION'S BUDGET VOTE

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE),  have attended the Minister of Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation’s Budget Vote and the Stakeholder Engagement on the 16th of July, 2019.    The Stakeholder Engagement included presentations by the CEO’s of the two established CMA’s (which were referred to as “Water Boards”); the Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN)*; National Business Initiative; the World Bank and WISA. Regrettably, other stakeholders such as NGOs were not given the opportunity to engage. *(The Partners in the SWPN are the South African Ministry of Water and Sanitation, World Bank, IFC, WEF, SAB, Coca Cola, Anglo American, Sasol, Nestle, Eskom, South 32, Exxaro, SASA, Distell and Coca Cola Bottling Association.) Allow me please to briefly report on the Minister’s Budget presentation.  Please click here for the full report.   From a non-political and non-racial NGO’s perspective, it was hoped that the Minister’s and the opposition parties’ presentations would have transcended political and racial barriers.  Regrettably, it did not.   The Minister acknowledged inter alia: The financial crisis/financial mismanagement (“huge financial problems”) The irregular expenditure The inequality in the distribution of water Lack of capacity (limited technical staff) particularly in the municipalities (the compulsory training of municipalities) The disproportionate percentage of water used for agriculture (61%) with 95% of water in the hands of white people The aging infrastructure without the necessary skills and support at the right time or the right place to manage our problems on time Vandalism and theft of infrastructure Non-payment for services The lack of skills which necessitated the appointment and monies spent on over-priced consultants Effluent in rivers Challenges with coordination between the three tiers for the provision of water Non-compliance by the mining industry with its water license conditions   The proposed interventions are inter alia:  To engage Treasury on the significant budget shortfalls of more than R2 billion affecting key projects such as the Emfuleni intervention project and Mzimvubu Water Project. The Departments of Finance, Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation must put measures in place to top slice the municipal grants to service the debt owed to the Department and its entities before the grants are paid to Municipalities. Municipal employees must be required, as is the case with other public servants, to undergo compulsory training so that they are equipped to manage our resources. Review of the tendering process.​We will review our tendering process. Revival of the DWS’ construction unit who will, together with members of the construction industry, establish maintenance task teams and attend to much needed maintenance intervention, especially in the water treatment and recycling stock. Request to Cabinet to declare all major dams national key points. An intensive campaign to digitise all its stock holdings, data and documentation. part of protecting resources and preventing damage and neglect.  New regulations on the conservation of water. Appointment of river, dams and sewerage inspectors from 1 August 2019.   There was, according to the FSE’s recollection,  no reference to: The long term management of acid mine water (the fact that AMD will continue to be produced long after the closure of gold and coal mines and the fact that continuous pumping of underground mine water is a pre-requisite); The establishment of the 7 non-operational CMAs; and The compliance status by the DWS of the directives by the South African Human Rights Commission inter alia:   The DRDLR (together with the DWS) are directed to take steps to translate existing guidelines regarding the provision of water on privately owned land into policy to ensure that basic protections in law regarding access to water are capable of being evaluated and enforced. The DMR (together with the DEA and the DWS) must, respectively, include in their annual reports the number of compliance notices or other sanctions imposed, including the proportion of successful interventions and or criminal prosecutions undertaken against non-compliance. The DEA (together with the DWS) are directed to take definite steps to ensure legal protection of our water source areas through, inter alia, the use of section 24(2A) of NEMA the inclusion of a specific provision that provides that the Minister of Water and Sanitation has the power to restrict or prohibit the grant of water use licences in water sources areas alongside the use of a host of legal tools, including section 26(g) of the Regulations of the National Water Act, section 49 of the MPRDA, management tools in terms of Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 43 of 1983 (CARA) and SPLUMA, Environmental Management Frameworks, and any further tools available.  A further provision that should be applicable, includes declarations in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 10 of 2004, of water source areas as threatened ecosystems. The DWS is directed to provide a report on the current state of water use monitoring.  The Report should include: Mechanisms in place to conduct regular determination of the water reserve, including how the DWS accounts for anticipated migration and population growth, limitations or inadequacies in municipal-infrastructure as well as other potential impacts on the availability of water resources, such as drought; An audit of all existing WULs to ensure they adequately protect the water reserve, including basic needs and ecological requirements; Steps taken to monitor compliances with WULs and its impacts, particularly in mining areas; and The impact mining has and will have on the water reserve and how this aligns with the National Strategic Plan for Water.