Residents of Blyvoor were this week still not sure what their future would bring.
According to Blyvoor’s provisional liquidator, Mr Leigh Roering, the mine’s liquidation is set to be finalised towards the end of May, despite the fact that some administration would still have to be done after this time. At this stage only the mine’s No. 5 rock stock pile and the assets of Shaft no. 2 still need to be sold.
Although the company Randlord Investments, which had previously bought the gold plant, had also acquired the mine’s slimes dams, they are currently still in the process of getting governmental authorisation to continue to rework the dams in order to obtain gold still trapped within.
In the meantime, the future of Blyvoor’s village was still unsure after Ms Liz Gericke of the company Double D & G Building Contractors CC, who had run the village during the past year, indicated that she was not prepared to continue with this action. This company’s arrangements with Eskom to pay for the town’s electricity subsequently ceased at the end of November. Although Eskom had sent a letter to Blyvoor in which it indicated, as far as could be determined, that the electricity would be cut by 25 January, this had not taken place as a result of the fact that the Lawyers For Human Rights is currently busy with a legal action to ensure that Blyvoor’s residents still have electricity.
On Tuesday the well-known environmentalist, Ms Mariette Liefferink of the FSE (Federation for a Sustainable Environment), also again expressed concern over what was happening at Blyvoor.
She indicated that the FSE had asked the liquidator to see a certificate of registration that would show that the rocks which had so far been removed from rock stock piles had been done according to the necessary legislation. This information had, however, so far not been forthcoming.
“It is worrying that so little information has been forthcoming as these rocks that have been removed already are potentially radioactive,” Liefferink indicated.
It was also not sure whether Randlord Investments would be able to obtain its own mining permit after the mine is finally liquidated. As part of obtaining such a permit, the company would have to prove that it has the money, resources and effective plans to rehabilitate Blyvoor once its mining is completed. It would, amongst other things, have to prove that it can successfully clean and pump contaminated water flowing from the mine.
“The company will have to submit a comprehensive closure plan during which it will have to show how it will deal with the long term impacts that the closure of the mine will have on the environment. According to legislation, public participation will have to form part of this action,” says Liefferink.
She added that Department of Environmental Affairs’ Environmental Management Inspectorate, commonly known as the “Green Scorpions”, were also still busy with their investigation into environmental pollution by Blyvoor while it was still under the ownership of the companies DRDGOLD and Village Main Reef, commonly known as Village.
Although the Green Scorpions had already started with their investigations just less than two years ago, much time was apparently wasted by them having to wait for critical documents to be handed over by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).