Some of the issues that are of importance to the mining team include:
The rehabilitation of derelict and ownerless mines
- Report of the Auditor-General to Parliament on a performance audit of the rehabilitation of abandoned mines at the Department of Minerals and Energy, October 2009
- The National Strategy for the Management of Derelict and Ownerless Mines in South Africa, 2009
- Parliamentary questions to the Minister of Mineral Resources regarding derelict and ownerless mines:
Acid Mine Drainage
The problem of AMD is particularly pressing in the context of South Africa’s legacy of derelict and ownerless mines. Some of these are already causing AMD, while many are ticking time-bombs. According to a report by the Council for Geoscience (CGS), by the end of May 2008 there were 5 906 “officially listed” derelict and ownerless mines in South Africa. The CGS classified 1 730 of these mines as “high risk”, estimating they would require approximately R28.5 billion of the total R30 billion then estimated cost of rehabilitation. In August 2015 it was reported that the estimated cost of this rehabilitation was R60 billion
Acid mine drainage from coal in eMalahleni and gold on the Witwatersrand is such a serious matter that cabinet convened an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to investigate this threat and compile a report detailing the estimated costs of resolving the issue. This committee includes the Ministers of Water, Environmental Affairs, Mineral Resources, Finance, Science and Technology, and the Minister in the Presidency for National Planning. The severity of the matter was also recognised in the 2012 National Water Resource Strategy, which stated that acid mine drainage and municipal wastewater pollution had “reached unacceptable levels”.
In 2011, the CER and 51 other civil society organisations and individuals addressed letters to the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Acid Mine Drainage, urging it to take action.
Here are some useful resources on acid mine drainage:
- Feris L and Kotzé L ‘The Regulation of Acid Mine Drainage in South Africa: Law and Governance Perspectives‘ (2014) Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal Vol 17 No 5
- McCarthy C ‘The impact of acid mine drainage in South Africa‘ (2011) South African Journal of Science 107 (5/6)
Proposed shale gas exploration in the Karoo
On 3 June 2015, the Minister of Mineral Resources published the Regulations for Petroleum Exploration and Production. However, Treasure the Karoo Action Group is challenging the legality of those regulations in the High Court. The CER commented on a draft version of the Regulations.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in collaboration with various specialists and organs of state, is conducting a strategic environmental assessment for shale gas development in the Karoo.
The environmental and socio-economic impact of mining on communities
Visit the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa‘s page
The videos below are illustrative of the struggles of mining-affected communities:
NO-GO Areas for mines
In addition to the declaration of protected areas, there are at least two legislative mechanisms that can be utilised by the Minister of Mineral Resources or the Minister of Environmental Affairs to declare certain areas as prohibited for mining (so-called “no-go areas”). Section 49 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (MPRDA) and section 24(2A) of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (NEMA) afford the Minister of Mineral Resources and the Minister of Environmental Affairs respectively with the power to declare no-go areas. In terms of the MPRDA provision, a prohibition can be imposed on the granting of prospecting or mining rights in respect of identified no-go areas and the NEMA provisions provide for the possibility of a prohibition on the granting of environmental authorisations for mining in identified no-go areas.
Despite repeated calls by civil society for the declaration of no-go areas, the Minister of Mineral Resources has not yet exercised his or her power in terms of section 49 of the MPRDA to protect environmentally significant and sensitive areas. Section 24(2A) is a relatively new section and has to date not been utilised by the Minister of Environmental Affairs.
- National Legislation35
- International instruments4
- Provincial Legislation16
- Parliamentary Oversight1
- Key Correspondence23
- Government Documents5
Request to DEA for information relating to the international export of live rhinoceros from South Africa
April 13, 2017
Request to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for copies of TOPS-related applications and permits relating to Emdoneni Lodge and Cheetah Project
March 17, 2017
Request to DWS for a list of all applications or petitions for the upliftment of suspensions of water use licences pending the outcome of appeals
March 14, 2017