Nuclearisation of Africa - Conference in pictures

Appeal: Mining expanding into wildlife corridor

Written by  Tricia Govindasamy Thursday, 26 January 2017 16:02
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

The expansion of a mining project that cuts through a protected water system and a proposed wildlife migration corridor in North West province has been given the go-ahead by environmental authorities.

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE), a group of community-based civil society organisations, has appealed the authorisation – arguing that “environmental decisions must achieve a balance between environmental and socio-economic developmental considerations through the concept of sustainable development”.

Read the full artiicle, including comment from the community, on OXPECKERS.  Documentation is also available on the site. 

The green light for the mine expansion was granted by the North West provincial Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development on June 28 2016. FSE, supported by the Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust, appealed the decision on October 31, and both the mining company and FSE filed answering statements last week.

Pilanesberg Platinum Mines, previously called Itereleng Bakgatla Mineral Resources, is the owner of the Sedibelo Platinum Mine, located north of the Pilanesberg National Park.

The proposed expansion is part of three separate mining projects on adjacent farms which will result in a combined mining operation. These three mines are:

• PPM Tuschenkomst (currently operational)

• Sedibelo Platinum Mine (Sedibelo) (approved and developing)

• Magazynskraal Platinum Mine (Magazynskraal) (proposed).

The FSE says the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental management plan (EMP) did not consider the cumulative impacts associated with these three projects. The organisation maintains that the authorisation should have not been granted based solely on the impact of the original mining project, and should have been considered afresh.

Sedibelo argues in response that the second environmental authorisation is effectively an amendment to the original go-ahead given in 2008, although “it takes the form of an independent environmental authorisation… The appeal fails to recognise that [the FSE] is constrained by the present reality, namely that the mine is already authorised.”

 

Protected water system

The Sedibelo Mine is located in protected water areas that include wetlands and the important Bofule river system. Surrounding communities rely on borehole water and believe that the mine is drawing water from their boreholes, contributing to a  decrease in crop yields.

The Mining and Biodiversity Guideline categorises sections along the Wilgespruit and Bofule rivers as “highest biodiversity importance and risk for mining”.

The southern section of the mining development area is similarly categorised in the guideline, launched by the national Environment Department in 2013 to “provide direction on how to avoid, minimise or remedy mining impacts as part of a thorough environmental impact assessment and robust environmental management programme”.

The original Sedibelo mining operations were approved in 2007, prior to the publication of the guideline and the identification of the region as a national freshwater ecosystem priority area. Sedibelo obtained a water use licence in August 2015.

Both the current operations and proposed expansion are located in areas of highest or high biodiversity importance, as stipulated in the Mining and Biodiversity Guideline.

“The mine’s impact on these biodiversity priority areas was not adequately considered in the decision to grant environmental authorisation,” states FSE.

PPM says in its response that the company’s chief director had “applied his mind to the anticipated biodiversity impacts and tailored specific conditions to mitigate them”.

The plan is to incorporate 167,000ha of private, state and community land into a corridor between the two reserves over a 20-year period in two-phases.

Heritage Park Corridor

The Heritage Park Corridor plan developed by the North West Parks and Tourism Board envisages a migration pathway for wildlife between the Pilanesberg National Park and the Madikwe Game Reserve. Wildlife corridors are mooted by environmentalists as a way to create metapopulations and resolve problems associated with the isolation of pockets of wildlife crammed into fragmented reserves.

The plan is to incorporate 167,000ha of private, state and community land into a corridor over a 20-year period in two-phases. The corridor’s aims include creating a nature-based tourism anchor project and a primary socio-economic catalyst for the region.

Phase one, located at the south of the Heritage Park, will be a fenced off area inhabited by non-dangerous wildlife. During this phase, community and mining activities can take place.

Phase two, known as the dangerous game corridor, will be a migratory corridor for the “Big Five” between the Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve. No community and mining activities are allowed in Phase two.

The expansion of the Sedibelo mine infrastructure cuts through the dangerous game corridor and the current mining operations approved in 2007 also occur in this region. In 2007 PPM proposed an alternative dangerous game corridor.

“The feasibility of the alternative corridor proposed in the EIA and EMP was not assessed at all. The result is that the impact of the project on the eco-tourism potential of the area (and thus the need and desirability of the project) has not been properly assessed,” says the FSE.

PPM says from the inception of Heritage Park Corridor concept, mining activities were always planned to coexist with phase one. “The corridor is a concept of the North West Parks and Tourism Board, thus the mining company is not legally obligated to investigate its feasibility.”

Oxpeckers was unable to get comment from the North West Parks Board.

 

MINING

FSE COMMENTS - Millsite Tailings Storage Facility Reclamation Project

Comments on the Millsite Tailings Storage Facility Reclamation Project: Wetland Sensitivity Mapping and Impact Assessment Freshwater Resource Assessment in the Vicinity of the Proposed Lindum Railway Decommissioning Freshwater Resource Assessment in the Vicinity of the Proposed Millsite Reclamation Surface Water Assessment Report Groundwater Assessment Report Integrated Water Use Licence Application for the Sibanye-Stillwater Rand Uranium/Cooke Operations Integrated Water and Waste Management Plan in support of the WULA   The following comments are submitted on behalf of the Federation for Sustainable Environment (FSE). The FSE is a federation of community based civil society organisations committed to the realisation of the constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being, and to having the environment sustainably managed and protected for future generations. Their mission is specifically focussed on addressing the adverse impacts of mining and industrial activities on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who live and work near South Africa’s mines and industries.  

Presentations at the conference "Sustainable Use of Abandoned Mines in the SADC Region"

Presentations, including the FSE’s presentation, held at the conference “Linki...

Palmietkuilen Coal Mining Project Rejected

The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) has refused ...

SA NEWS

Battle to save Marico's river

De Beers has secured rights to prospect for kimberlite in the sensitive catchment of Groot Marico, but residents worry that minim firms could damage their pristine river, writes Sheree Bega

Saturday Star - No holds barred in draft National Master Plan for Water

Saturday Star January 27 2018 No holds barred in draft National Master Plan for Water   Sheree Bega   South Africa’s water scarcity could rapidly get worse as supply contracts and demand escalates due to growth, urbanisation, unsustainable use, degradation of wetlands, water losses and a decline in rainfall because of climate change. This is one of the warnings contained in the new draft National Master Plan for Water and Sanitation. Based on current demand projections, the water deficit confronting the country could be between 2.7 and 3.8 billion cubic metres, a gap of about 17%, by 2030. As of July last year, according to the draft plan, South Africa has consumed more water per capita at about 237 * /c/d than the world average of around 173 * /c/d. To address crippling water shortages, desalinated sea water in coastal areas, and treated waste water, will increasingly be brought into the water mix - together with an increase in the use of groundwater. Desalination plants should “not be implemented as an emergency scheme, only to be used intermittently or during times of drought and inadequate supply from the conventional water resources,” the draft plan cautions. “These schemes are too costly to be moth-balled for any length of time.”

THE IMPACT OF MINING ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN ECONOMY AND LIVING STANDARDS

  POLITICS WEB MINING AND PEOPLE: THE IMPACT OF MINING ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN ECONOMY AND LIVING STANDARDS INTRODUCTION AND SYNOPSIS There are two ways of looking at mining in South Africa. The first is to see it as a sunset industry plagued by rising costs, technical difficulties, and political hostility. The second is to see it as an industry well positioned for a new lease of life despite all the vicissitudes. Even though the attractiveness of South Africa for mining investment has declined, the country still has the world's richest reserves of precious minerals and base metals. Companies both large and small would like to exploit these. Some are doing so despite the political threats. Even more will do so if the threats can be effectively managed or reduced. According to the Chamber of Mines, investment over the next few years could almost double in the absence of threats.

FSE’s Preliminary Comments on the Minister of Water and Sanitation’s decision to consolidate the 9 Catchment Management Agencies into one Catchment Management Agency.

  (Reg. No. 2007/003002/08) NPO NUMBER 062986-NPO PBO No. (TAX EXEMPT) 930 039 506 Postnet Suite 87 Private Bag X033 RIVONIA 2128   COMMENTS ON THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION’S DECISION TO IMPLEMENT A SINGLE CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT AGENCY (CMA) TO PERFORM WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT FUNCTION IN THE NINE WATER MANAGEMENT AREAS.  The following comments are submitted on behalf of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment. The Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) is a federation of community based civil society organisations committed to the realisation of the constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being, and to having the environment sustainably managed and protected for future generations. The FSE’s mission is specifically focussed on addressing the adverse impacts of mining and industrial activities on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who live and work near South Africa’s mines and industries.  

WATER

SUBMISSION ON THE DWS MASTER PLAN

WRITTEN SUBMISSION ON THE DRAFT 2.6: NATIONAL WATER AND SANITATION MASTER PLAN (NW&SMP)  In this document, the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (“FSE”) submits comments on the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan, draft 2.6 (the “draft plan”).  THE FSE:  The FSE is a federation of community based civil society organisations committed to the realisation of the constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being, and to having the environment sustainably managed and protected for future generations. Their mission is specifically focussed on addressing the adverse impacts of mining and industrial activities on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who live and work near South Africa’s mines and industries.    In accordance with the above-mentioned mission, the FSE’s comments are limited to matters pertaining to the mining industry. The FSE’s comments will be substantiated by real examples within the scope of the FSE’s experience and our active participation in a significant number of environmental impacts assessments, environmental management programme reports, water use license applications, environmental authorisations, steering committees, forums, task teams, teams of experts, academic research groups, boards, etc. over a period of 15 (fifteen years).[1] [1] Kindly note that the Legal Resources Centre assisted with this publication.

Coalition defending Mpumalanga water source area

Last week, the coalition of eight civil society and community organisations that...