While the positive economic impacts of the project were highlighted by the Platmin, the significant long term negative social and environmental impacts (externalised costs after mine closure) were omitted. Mining has significant social and environmental consequences . The economic benefits of the mining operations must be calculated in terms of not merely how many jobs are created and how much the Mine will contribute to GDP but what is destroyed in the process.
The manager of park expansion at the North West Parks and Tourism Board, however, told Saturday Star (January 26, 2013):
“We’re still working on the corridor but we do have fears with the current mine activity...that the footprint area of the corridor will be hampered. It will sort of suspend the connection between Pilanesberg and Lebatlane, which is one of the growth points for the Heritage park for about 15 years. We’re still expecting after rehab, the corridor will be 1km or so, which is a small space for the bigger animals.”
Furthermore, In terms of Volume 11 (Visual Impact Assessment):
“The mine comprises a series of opencast pits, temporary waste rock and topsoil stockpiles, haul roads, a concentrator plant, a tailings disposal facility, a sewage plant, offices, workshops and support infrastructure. The remaining life of the mine (in 2011 – our comment) is eight years. The Tuschenkomst open pit falls with the proposed Heritage Park Corridor which would in future link the Pilanesberg National Park to Madikwe Game Reserve.
“The study area has obvious tourism potential, which is being tapped (Pilanesberg National Park and Black Rhino Lodges). This is especially relevant directly north of the Pilanesberg where the combination of flat savannah plains and treed hills evoke a beautiful scene with a strong sense of place. This is also the area earmarked for the proposed Heritage Park Corridor, which will ultimately join the Pilanesberg National Park to Madikwe Game Reserve to the north west.
“However, the general beauty of the area is being compromised by competing mining activities which stretch in a general arc to the west and north west of the Pilanesberg National Park. These activities can be seen protruding above the horizon line when viewed from residential and tourist areas within the study area. The mining activities impact is especially severe at night when the bright lights stand out against the otherwise dark night sky. (Emphasis added.)
“It is predicted that the proposed amended EMP Closure Plan project will exert a HIGH negative impact on the visual and aesthetic environment in the long term when compared against the baseline (i.e. the approved EMP Closure Plan) primarily due to the scale, size and form of the proposed waste rock dump. (Emphasis added.)”
“Cumulative landscape and visual effects result from additional changes to the landscape or visual amenity caused by the proposed development in conjunction with other developments, or actions that occurred in the past, present or are likely to occur in the foreseeable future.”
“The separate effects of such individual component or developments may not be significant, but together they may create an unacceptable degree of adverse effect on visual receptors within their combined visual envelopes.”
Download the entire Preliminary Response