The FSE has submitted comment on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed re-mining and processing of tailings facilities at the operations of Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited in the Welkom area.
The EIA report is available on the website of Golder Associates and the comment can be downloaded here (under 200kb)
Mariette Liefferink, CEO of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment introduces an answering statement: We are not raising any new matters in our answering statement. As such, it is our understanding, grounded upon the 2010 EIA Regulations, that the Respondents do not have a right of response. We do, however, attach as a postscript, in a separate document, our response to the Site Visit, which was conducted on the 13th of January, 2017, in which new information is raised and as such, according to or understanding of the 2010 EIA Regulations, the Respondents have a right to respond and the FSE, in turn has a right of reply.
Download the answering statement.
The Case of MRC, Xolobeni and Tormin
South African wealth is founded on our extraordinary mineral bounty, conservatively valued at over $3 trillion (R36 trillion). Our future is dependent on how we manage this geological legacy. We can either harness the full spectrum of opportunities or lay ourselves open to what is known as the “resource curse” where natural resources are exploited by unscrupulous or corrupt entities, with minimal national benefit. A recent example provides some insight in how we appear to be headed down the wrong path.
Ms Margaret-Ann Diedricks Director General of the Department of Water and Sanitation presented the strategic objectives for the coming 5 years and the reflection of the Water and Sanitation Summit Declaration and Outcomes.
Academics and the FSE consider residential townships, edible crop production and livestock grazing to be high risk land-uses for tailings storage facilities (TSFs), TSF footprints and areas within aqueous or aerial zone of influence of TSFs and metallurgical plants in South Africa. Failure by regulators and industry to agree on suitable ‘soft’ end land-uses and buffer zones could exacerbate liabilities for the City of Johannesburg by resulting in subsequent land-uses that are sub-economic or risky.
While mining is an important contributor to the SA economy it is has the potential for significant negative impacts on the environment. In South Africa the psychological dependence on the mining industry seems to extend beyond cost/benefit, a phenomenon evidenced in the metaphors used to describe the industry’s significance. The recently developed National Development Programme, however, does not state that mining investment and production is “urgent”, but rather that “[i]t is urgent to stimulate mining investment and production in a way that is environmentally sound…”.
Comments on the Proposed Classes of Water Resource for Catchments of the Crocodile (West), Marico, Mokolo And Matlabas in terms of Section 13(1) (A) of the the National Water Act, 1998, Act No 36 Of 1998
DRD Gold's organizational structure is such that it is divided into dozens of sub-companies, with each sub-company being responsible for its own production and maximizing its own profit. It is structured in such a manner that the profits of one sub-company cannot offset the liabilities and impacts of another sub-company. The result is that the impacts and the pollution costs of beleaguered sub-companies are often carried by communities, the environment and future generations and not by DRD Gold.
Notwithstanding the establishment of the Wonderfonteinspruit Regulators Steering Committee on the 21st of December 2007 andÂ admirable intentions of the Wonderfonteinspruit Regulators Steering Committee to address an urgent environmental matter, and the honourable Minister's response, the following issues remain unaddressed at the time of writing:
FSE’s Preliminary Response to Platmin’s Note For Investors For Information Posted On The Platmin’s Website On The 16 January 2013While cognisance is taken that the Platmin’s mining activities may result in job creation and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it may well come at significant cost and existential risks to other sectors, such as tourism, eco-tourism and conservation with resultant job losses and curtailing of contribution by the said sectors to GDP. Furthermore, it will result in the loss of common natural resources on which the rural people within the North West Province depend. Land degradation and the loss of biodiversity because of mining affect poor people most, as they often depend directly on natural resources. Poverty is wide-spread in the above-mentioned areas notwithstanding the rich platinum group metal resources.
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