FSE's comments are attached for download.
The FSE contributed to the article titled “Caught between a rock and hard place” by Nellie Moodley on page 33 of the magazine. An advertisement of the FSE’s activities appears on page 14 of the magazine.
Notification of the Withdrawal of the Application of an Amendment of the Environmental Authorisation and Environmental Management Programme for the Sweet Sensation Sand Mining Operation in Free State
The concerted efforts and submissions to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), the Applicant and its appointed Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) by the Protect Vaal Eden Committee, Vaal Eden community, and the Federation for a Sustainable Environment have resulted in the withdrawal of the application of an amendment of the environmental authorisation and environmental management programme for the Sweet Sensation Sand Mining operation adjacent to the Vaal River. The EAP was notified by the DMRE that further specialist studies would be required to determine the impact the application for a screening plant and process would have on the environment and that a Regulation 31 amendment process, which involves a public participation process, must be undertaken. The FSE welcomes the DMRE’s notification. Notification letter attached for download
The Pelicam Film Festival in Rumania has awarded Jozi Gold a Special Mention.
Mind the Gap consortium launched the new website www.mindthegap.ngo featuring five strategies corporations use to avoid responsibility for human rights abuses: 1.Constructing deniability; 2. Avoiding liability through judicial strategies; 3. Distracting and obfuscating stakeholders; 4.Undermining defenders and communities; 5. Utilising state power. These harmful strategies manifest themselves in a wide array of actions by corporations that obstruct justice, distort the facts and frustrate remedy for affected communities. The Mintails case will be part of the evidence base for this website and Lonmin’s involvement in the Marikana massacre is also included. The case studies featured on the new website highlight the wide prevalence of harmful corporate strategies in practice and amplifies the urgent need to close the governance gaps that are sustaining a global system of corporate impunity. Subjoined hereunder is the report on Mintails. in South Africa CASE STUDY: MINTAILS’ STRATEGIES OF DISENGAGEMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA Photo: SOMO Last updated: 10th July 2020 The bankruptcy case of the South African mining company Mintails provides an example of irresponsible disengagement by investors, leaving the state of South Africa and the local communities around the mines with the burden of uncovered post-mining environmental rehabilitation costs. Mintails S.A. (Mintails), a fully-owned subsidiary of Mintails Limited (MLI), held three mining rights in South Africa – West Wits Mining, Minerals and Mining Reclamation, and Mogale Gold. In the 2010s, Mintails was granted these mining rights by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), subject to adequate provision for environmental rehabilitation liability. However, the mining rights were never fully issued, as Mintails failed to provide multiple financial and social provisions. Despite the lack of a valid mining licence, Mintails was allowed to continue mining operations, amid numerous documented complaints of environmental contraventions. After several statutory notices from DMR, in which the department asked Mintails to comply with environmental regulations and to provide adequate remedy for the damages it had caused, the Director General of DMR directed Mintails to provide a quarter of all the due costs in October 2014. The company was required to submit a six-month payment plan to provide the remaining sum. Unable to raise this money, Mintails filed for business rescue a year later. Several actions by MLI and Mintails resulted in diminished environmental liability. First, Mintails hired two consultants who provided substantially downgraded estimates of the company’s liability for the environmental harms originating from its mining activities. Second, in the midst of a business rescue, MLI divested itself from Mintails by proceeding to spin-off its South African subsidiary. MLI was then renamed Orminex Limited, completing what looks like a manoeuvre to avoid liability for the environmental reparations owed by Mintails. Eventually, Mintails filed for liquidation during the summer of 2018, leaving the state of South Africa and the local communities around the mines with the financial burden to cover post-mining environmental rehabilitation costs, estimated at over R460 million (approx. 35 million US$). As multiple sources argue, this turn of events could have been foreseen as Mintails had recognised that its activities could lead to bankruptcy. The company nonetheless decided not to secure the funds it owed for environmental repairs. MLI’s separation from its South African subsidiary Mintails can be interpreted as a sign that the company aimed to avoid liability for the environmental damages created by its subsidiary. Despite the South African Parliament recommending prosecution and civil suits on company directors and shareholders in their personal capacities so that some of the liability owed could be recovered, the National Prosecuting Authority has been silent on the matter to date. Observers have pointed out that this is unlikely to change in South Africa’s mining-dependant environment. In an attempt to achieve environmental restoration, the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) filed a lawsuit to compel relevant government departments to hold companies and directors in the Mintails group to account for the environmental restoration costs. The first hearing is expected to take place on 12 August 2020.  South African National Assembly, “Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on its oversight visit North West and Gauteng on the 13-14 September 2018, dated 07 November 2018”, Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (Cape Town: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, 2018), 22-52, https://dc.sourceafrica.net/documents/118553-Portfolio-Committee-on-Mineral-Resources-Final.html (accessed November 4, 2019).  Gauteng Regional Head Office of the Department of Water and Sanitation of the Republic of South Africa, “Compliance Inspection for Mintails Mining SA Ltd: Mogale Gold,” December 18, 2014, https://dc.sourceafrica.net/documents/118409-DWS-Inspection-Report.html(accessed November 4, 2019); Mariette Lifferink and Lucien Limacher, “Presentation to the Government Task Team on Mintails’ Alleged Environmental Contraventions,” April 19, 2018, https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/s3.sourceafrica.net/documents/118408/LRC-FSE-GTT-PRESENTATION-MINTAILS.pdf (accessed November 4, 2019).  South African National Assembly.  Lake, David, “Business Rescue Plan: Mintails Mining SA Proprietary Limited”, Mintails Gold SA Proprietary Limited and Mintails SA Randfontein Cluster Proprietary Limited (Johannesburg: Lake Strategic Solutions, 2016), 88., https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/s3.sourceafrica.net/documents/118411/BUSINESS-RESCUE-PLAN-161213-MSARC-Amended.pdf (accessed November 4, 2019).  South African National Assembly.  It is not completely clear which party purchased Mintails S.A and how the spin-off was eventually realised. The report by the Business Rescue Person David Lake mentions a shift of interests from Paige Limited to Mvest Capital, while the news website Businesslive mentions Paige as the sole creditor after liquidation. See point 5 and 6 in: David Lake, “Notice in terms of sections 132(3), 141(2)(a)(i), 144(3)(a), 145(1)(a) and 146(a) of the companies act, 2008″, Lake Strategic Solutions, Johannesburg, August 1, 2018, p. 2, https://dc.sourceafrica.net/documents/118415-180801-Notice-to-Affected-Parties-Mintails.html (accessed November 4, 2019) and Mark Olalde, “Mintails directors may face criminal charges”, December 11, 2018, Businesslive, https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2018-12-11-mintails-directors-may-face-criminal-charges/ (accessed November 4, 2019).  James Thackray, “Mintails Limited: Effectuation of Deed of Company Arrangement,” HQ Advisory, June 6, 2017. (accessed November 4, 2019); Orminex Limited. “Orminex: 31 March 2018 Quarterly Report,” March 31, 2018. https://orminex.com.au/re-listing-update-and-change-of-asx-code/. (accessed June 21, 2020).  In its email reply responding to a request to review this case study, Orminex writes: “we purchased the listed entity [MLI] as a shell company and have never had any association with the South African subsidiary [Mintails South Africa] referred to in your recent email correspondence” (email dated 5 February 2020). The research team has not been able to verify this information, although Mintails’ 2017 annual report, p.4, makes clear that MLI was recapitalised, possibly by new shareholders: https://orminex.com.au/category/annual-reports/  Lake, David, “Notice in terms of sections 132(3), 141(2)(a)(i), 144(3)(a), 145(1)(a) and 146(a) of the companies act, 2008”.  Lake, David. “Notice in Terms of Sections 132(3), 141(2)(a)(i), 144(3)(a), 145(1)(a) and 146(a) of the Companies Act, 2008,” 1 August 2018. https://dc.sourceafrica.net/documents/118415-180801-Notice-to-Affected-Parties-Mintails.html (accessed 21 June 2020).  Bega; Olalde and Matikinca.  South African National Assembly; Mark Olalde and Andiswa Matikinca, “Directors targeted for Mintails mess,” Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism, December 2018, https://oxpeckers.org/2018/12/mintails-directors -targeted/ (accessed 4 November 2019); Sheree Bega, “Illegal miners hit Mintails mine on West Rand,” IOL News, 1 June 2019, https://www.iol.co.za/ saturday-star/watch-illegal-miners-hit-mintails-mine-on-west-rand-24637889 (accessed 4 November 2019).  The federation for a sustainable environment. “FSE’s Notice of Motion and Founding Affidavit: Minitails Group,” September 6, 2019. https://www.fse.org.za/index.php/mining/item/703-fse-s-notice-of-motion-and-founding-affidavit-mintails-group (accessed June 21, 2020).; Bega, Sheree. “A Battle to Hold Mining Company Accountable.” IOL News, February 26, 2020. https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/a-battle-to-hold-mining-company-accountable-19518065 (accessed June 21, 2020). Please visit www.mindthegap.nog
ANNEXURE G ( FINAL RQOs - UPPER VAAL) - attached for download.
Marievale Tailings Facilities Project - ANNEXURE B (NATIONAL WATER RESOURCE STRATEGY) & ANNEXURE C (IVRS RECONCILIATION STRATEGY) & D (NEMA FINANCIAL REGULATIONS)
ANNEXURE B (NATIONAL WATER RESOURCE STRATEGY) ANNEXURE C (IVRS RECONCILIATION STRATEGY) & D (NEMA FINANCIAL REGULATIONS) - attached for download.
FSE's COMMENTS ON ERGO MINING's Marievale Tailings Facilities Project (APPENDIX A - NATIONAL WATER AND SANITATION MASTER PLAN)
APPENDIX A - NATIONAL WATER AND SANITATION MASTER PLAN - attached for download.
The document with FSE's comments are attached for download.
Marievale Tailings Facilities Project: ANNEXURES E (SAHRC REPORT) & F (MINING BELT REGIONAL SPATIAL PLANNING POLICY)
Documents attached for download.
FSE'S REQUEST TO THE MINISTER OF MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE POLLUTER PAYS PRINCIPLE: DILOKONG CHROME MINE
All related documents attached for download.
Watch the Jozi Gold Q&A with Mariette Liefferink here.
Jozi Gold is now available for you to watch in the comfort of your own home. Watch it here. At 5pm today, there will be a live Q&A with Mariette Liefferink about the film. Here's the link to the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/201055457890047/.
FSE's FINAL COMMENTS ON THE VALLEY SILTS PROJECT'S REVISED DRAFT/FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT
Please find the FSE's comments attached below for download.
Directions issued by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: Measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid - 19
Please find the Minister's directions attached for download.
FSE's Comments on Ergo Mining's Valley Silts Project: Stakeholder Meeting Minutes - Saturday, 18 January 2020
Please find attached for download.
FSE'S COMMENTS ON MINE WASTE SOLUTIONS' KAREERAND TAILINGS STORAGE FACILITY EXPANSION PROJECT SCOPING REPORT
Comments are attached for download.
NEWS / 25 OCTOBER 2019, 10:04PM / SHEREE BEGA A decision by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs setting aside the environmental approval for a planned open-cast coal mine on the East Rand has been hailed as "excellent" for the region. In her decision on October 20, Minister Barbara Creecy stated that it was vital that commercial agriculture be safeguarded in the Springs/Nigel area. Local resident, business and environmental groups had appealed the Department of Mineral Resources' (DMR) approval of the integrated environmental authorisation for the proposed Palmietkuilen coal mine in March this year. Creecy has now upheld their appeal, setting aside the DMR's decision. The Grootvaly Blesbokspruit Conservation Trust, the Largo and Groovaly AH Residents and Businesses, Aston Lake Community and the Springs Nigel branch of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA, were among the organisations who had brought seven appeals against the project. In August 2016, Anglo Operations, on behalf of Canyon Coal, applied to build the open-pit coal mine. The project is anticipated to have a life of mine of 47 years, with the anticipated production of 2 400 000 tons of coal per year to supply local and international markets. The proposed mine is upstream of the Blesbokspruit, which feeds the Marievale Bird Sanctuary in Springs and flows into the Vaal. It is a designated a Ramsar wetland of international importance. In her appeal decision, Creecy notes how Hugo Arthur de Koningh, the second appellant in the matter, argued that agricultural land "has to disappear for the sake of economic development" and expressed concern that "food security became more threatened". Creecy agreed."While I am aware of the social benefits of the proposed mining, I find that such does not outweigh the need to to protect and preserve the prime agricultural land. "The said area has been utilised for agricultural activities for generations and can go on to be used for such provided soil disturbances are avoided." "One of the biggest threats to the retention of productive agricultural land is the conflict between agriculture and mining land uses. With the matter at hand, I find that it is vital to preserve the current land use, mainly commercial agriculture," Creecy said. "This is excellent news for Springs and the farmers of our area and our thanks to all who participated in the seven appeals that were lodged," said the attorney in the case, Philip De Jager. "I would, however, point out that the applicant is entitled to have this decision judicially reviewed." Local environmentalist Stan Madden, the "father of the Blesbokspruit", welcomed Creecy's decision. "I was one of the group of organisations (Springs-Nigel branch of Wessa) that were against the environmental authorisation in the Palmietkuilen area. "I and others are very pleased with the Minister's decision not to grant this authorisation. It does give a little hope for the future of this sensitive wetland and agricultural heartland, Madden said. Mariette Liefferink, the CEO of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, said it was "heartened" by Creecy's decision to uphold the appeal by interested and affected parties and to set aside the decision by the DMR. "It demonstrates the power of active citizenry to ensure that development is ecological sustainable and economically justifiable. "With South Africa being a water scarce country, with a rapid population growth that consumes a substantial amount of food and water, and vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change and climate variability, the proposed open cast coal mine would have compromised sustainability and would have exceeded environmental tipping points," she said. In their appeals, residents cited how an objection by the then Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries against the loss of high agricultural land was ignored by the DMR. On September 25, comments were provided to Creecy by the now Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, indicating that the proposed mining activity is located within a proposed protected agricultural area, which has a priority rating of B. "According to DALRRD, this means that this area is regarded as high potential agricultural land, which should be protected for agricultural production purposes," Creecy noted. The directorate of spatial information management within Creecy's department was requested to do a screening of the proposed mining area, "which confirms that the site comprises mainly very sensitive agricultural areas", she said. The DMR had stated that the impact on agricultural land was considered and assessed and studies had shown how the proposed mining activity "will have minimal and acceptable impacts on food security". The Saturday Star
According the Draft Water and Sanitation Master Plan, high water yield areas constitute only 4% of South Africa’s surface area and are the water factories of the country. Currently only 18% of them have any form of formal protection. Furthermore, 57% of river ecosystem types and 65% of wetland eco system types are threatened, making wetlands the most threatened of all ecosystems. In view of the above mentioned threats, the FSE, a member of the Coalition, who defended the protection of the Enkangala-Drakensberg Strategic Water Source Area, where Atha Proposes to mine coal, salutes the latest decision by the Constitutional Court. Press statement attached. Constitutional Court rejects coal mining company's attempt to ... Fin24-13 hours ago In a short, sharp smack-down, the Constitutional Court has rejected an attempt by would-be coal mining company Atha-Africa Ventures to draw ... ConCourt overturns Zwane, Molewa's permission to mine in ... SowetanLIVE-18 Nov 2019 The Constitutional Court has had the final say on the approval of a coal mine ... In February, the high court refused Atha-Africa's leave... TimesLIVE Constitutional Court dismisses mine company bid to mine in ... DispatchLIVE-18 Nov 2019 Earlier this month the Constitutional Court refused mining company Atha Africa's final challenge of a 2018 high court decision to set... 'Significant victory' for the environment in Concourt hailed Independent Online-19 Nov 2019 Cape Town – Environmentalists have hailed a decision by the Constitutional Court to dismiss Atha Africa's leave to appeal against...
Successful Appeal against the Decision to Grant an Integrated Environmental Authorisation to Anglo Operations (Pty) Ltd in respect of a Mining Right Application relating to opencast coal mining on Farm Palmietkuilen. The FSE assisted and supported the 1st and 3rd Appellants, namely Largo and Grootvaly A H Residents and Businesses and the Grootvaly Blesbokspruit Conservation Trust with their Appeals. Appeal decision attached.
SATURDAY STAR article written by Sheree Bega - "Mintails mining site reduced to rubble" “Look, there’s nothing left,” said the heavily armed security guard as he pointed to what remained of Mintails’ gold treatment plants, offices and adjacent infrastructure: rubble. Read the rest of the article here. Watch the SABC2 Mintails coverage here. Notice of motion and affidavit issued by the FSE attached for referral.
The FSE contributed to the article titled “Caught between a rock and hard place”...
Notification of the Withdrawal of the Application of an Amendment of the Environmental Authorisation and Environmental Management Programme for the Sweet Sensation Sand Mining Operation in Free State
The concerted efforts and submissions to the Department of Mineral Resources and...
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.
Article also available for download as an attachment.
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.
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.
Attached documents:1. DWS Eutrophication SA & GA PSC 1 BID2. PSC 1 Meeting A...
Toxic green algae in the Vaal River is caused by eutrophication, which harms wat...
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