Water News

Artisanal mining has huge jobs, economic potential if regulated properly

Written by  Ilan Solomons Friday, 11 December 2015 10:43
Rate this item
(0 votes)

South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) research associate Angela Kariuki, speaking at the Nuclearisation of Africa symposium, in Kempton Park, last month, said that, in 2014, the commission compiled a report on the issues and challenges related to unregulated artisanal mining in South Africa based on these hearings. She said that the hearings revealed that, in South Africa, artisanal mining was not legally recognised, despite its growth and the potential opportunities it offered, economically and socially.  Article based on presentations delivered at the Nuclearisation of Africa Symposium. 

 

Over the past five years, the work and interventions of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in the environment, natural resources and rural development arena has focused increasingly on the impact of mining activities on the environment and human rights. The commission has convened dialogues, workshops, meetings, hearings and investigations into the environmental, social and governance issues related to the management of acid mine drainage, business and human rights in the context of extractive industries.

Special emphasis has been placed by the SAHRC on the mining sector’s role in public participation in local economic development, planning in rural areas and work related to land reform for improved livelihoods in rural South Africa. Additionally, in line with its constitutional and legislative mandate, the SAHRC convened investigative hearings in light of growing reports, in both number and severity, of illegal mining activities across the country. SAHRC research associate Angela Kariuki, speaking at the Nuclearisation of Africa symposium, in Kempton Park, last month, said that, in 2014, the commission compiled a report on the issues and challenges related to unregulated artisanal mining in South Africa based on these hearings. She said that the hearings revealed that, in South Africa, artisanal mining was not legally recognised, despite its growth and the potential opportunities it offered, economically and socially. Further, Kariuki pointed out that these unregulated activities were synonymous with social, health and environmental ills, which made them even more challenging to condone and manage.

“It appears that the challenges related to unregulated artisanal mining in South Africa and the problematic implications of not dealing with them are acknowledged,” she stated. Kariuki noted that the complexity of the issue was compounded by the lack of research and literature on artisanal mining in South Africa. Further, she said, there was a poor understanding of the profile of the artisanal miner in South Africa.

“Not all of these individuals and groups are involved in or, if they are, began the activity with the intention of becoming involved in criminal syndicates. Not all host mining communities have the same views around artisanal mining activity. Not all are non-nationals and neither are they all illegal immigrants,” Kariuki stressed.

She further pointed out that the current socioeconomic situation in many parts of Gauteng had pushed many people into illegal mining activities. Kariuki highlighted that all respondents had submitted that illegal mining practices happened outside of the South African legal framework, particularly the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). She explained that the MPRDA catered for medium- to large-scale mines and small-scale operators. Kariuki stated that current mining enabling legislation did not adequately provide for artisanal mining.

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) also indicated that the MPRDA could provide permits for artisanal miners, but that, in practice, regulation had not promoted the growth of legal artisanal mining. Further, Kariuki stated that the DMR and various government departments had failed to prevent criminal and dangerous practices. “Certain artisanal mining activities, such as the use of mercury and working in dangerous shafts, cannot and should not be tolerated.

On the other hand, there are artisanal mining processes that have the potential to enable job creation and support informal trade and other local economic activities,” she said. Kariuki commented that the SAHRC had made some findings and provided recommendations about the status of artisanal mining in South Africa. Some of those findings concerned the extent to which illegality pervaded the whole mining industry, and recommendations for the improvement of the situation included the need for future strategic research into artisanal mining in South Africa.

The commission noted that there was a need for “a holistic, collaborative approach” by all role-players, namely government, civil society and mining houses, to address the opportunities and challenges posed by unregulated artisanal mining. The SAHRC said that there was a need for an appropriate, consistent and transparent policy and regulatory framework that focused on facilitation and management of artisanal mining in South Africa and not just the criminalisation of the activities. The commission also stated that there was a need for government to recognise the potential value that lay in large-scale miners’ building relationships and partnerships with artisanal miners. Additionally, the SAHRC said there was an “urgent need” for programmes for artisanal mining communities across South Africa to raise awareness about the human and environmental dangers of unsafe artisanal mining, such as the dangers of mercury use.  

EDITED BY: MARTIN ZHUWAKINYU CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/artisanal-mining-unregulated-misunderstood-but-holds-great-potential-sahrc-2015-12-11 - please check conditions of use before replicating

 

 

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/artisanal-mining-unregulated-misunderstood-but-holds-great-potential-sahrc-2015-12-11

FSE IN SA MINING

The FSE contributed to the article titled “Caught between a rock and hard place”...

SA NEWS

FSE - DONATION OF TREES AND TREE PLANTING IN SIMUNYE, WEST RAND IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOUTH DEEP MINE

The FSE, in association with Gold Fields’ South Deep Mine, donated 40 white Karee Trees (Searsia penduline) during Arbor Week to the mining affected community of Simunye in the West Rand and participated in the tree planting ceremony with the community of Simunye, the local Municipality and officials from South Deep Mine.  The FSE also delivered a presentation during the ceremony.

"Varkies" gou op hok, maar als nie pluis | Beeld

Article also available for download as an attachment.

Radon Alert - Carte Blanche

Millions of South Africans are exposed to radioactive radon gas in their homes and workplaces every day, as the naturally occurring gas escapes through cracks in the earth. The second leading cause of lung cancer in several countries, radon breaks down and when inhaled, decaying atoms emit alpha radiation that can damage the DNA. There are no safe levels of radon concentration. The United States Environmental Protection Agency emphasises any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. Carte Blanche investigates why South Africa has no regulations to protect against radon accumulation in the home and what you can do to test your home and prevent lung cancer.   Watch the video here.

WITS Economics & Finance Courses: Mining for Development: The Taxation Linkage

Economics & Finance Courses at the University of the Witwatersrand. Mining for Development: The Taxation Linkage - Understand taxation for development and sustainability in mining. View the course here. Enrolment starts on the 7th of October 2019.

WATER

POLLUTION OF THE VAAL RIVER INTERVENTION AS PRESENTED at Rietspruit Forum - Aug 2020

The Intervention document is attached for download.

Development of the National Eutrophication Strategy and Supporting Documents

Attached documents:1. DWS Eutrophication SA & GA PSC 1 BID2. PSC 1 Meeting A...

Fears of long term damage to SA's water supply as eutrophication strangles rivers and dams | IOL

Toxic green algae in the Vaal River is caused by eutrophication, which harms wat...