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

turn mine enviro hazards into jobs generator

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/booklet-outlines-guide-to-turning-mine-enviro-hazards-into-job-generator-2017-07-28 booklet outlines measures to turn mine enviro hazards into jobs generator 4th August 2017 By: Ilan Solomons - Creamer Media Staff Writer MARIETTE LIEFFERINK The project would be in the position to supply jobs to 100 people, who would be responsible for the rehabilitation of Tweelopiespruit and surrounding areas Photo by: Duane Daws  

It’s all about the money

The hazardous mining by-product raises two questions – who’s to blame and who sh...

Down in the dumps, there's hope

"WHERE there's waste, there's opportunity," said mining hydrologist Kym Morton, ...

SA NEWS

Addressing waste and pollution of the past

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment is proud to announce the launch of the booklet titled “Rehabilitation of Mine Contaminated Eco-Systems. A Contribution to a Just Transition to a Low Carbon Economy to Combat Unemployment and Climate Change” by Mariette Liefferink of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE). The booklet was commissioned by the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) in collaboration with the Friedrick Ebert Stiftung.

Nuwe myn ‘sal duisende hul huise kos’

Byna 10 000 mense sal verskuif moet word as Anglo Operations Ltd en Canyon Coal hul sin kry om ’n massiewe oopgroefsteenkoolmyn oos van Springs te begin.

SA coal mines leave legacy of ruin

Johannesburg - A 19-month data investigation of mine closures indicates that since at least 2011 no large coal mines operating in South Africa have been granted closure.

Besoedelingklagte: Mynbase daag nie by hof op

Drie direkteure van die Blyvooruitzicht- en Village Main Reef-goudmyn buite ­Carletonville kan ’n boete van tot R10 miljoen of tien jaar tronkstraf opgelê word weens die beweerde besoedeling en agteruitgang van die omgewing.

WATER

Coalition defending Mpumalanga water source area

Last week, the coalition of eight civil society and community organisations that has been resisting the proposed coal mine inside a protected area and strategic water source area in Mpumalanga launched further proceedings in the Pretoria High Court.

Project to heal polluted river . System will·create stream·of jobs

THE POTENTIAL to create 100 climate jobs and to help : bring a "dead river syste...

'Mine Water can be treated, safe'

SOUTH Africans have to "change their mindsets" that they can't drink acid mine d...