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Centre for Environmental Rights - Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Our Programmes:

Mining

Mabola Protected Environment

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, BirdLife South Africa, Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa, Endangered Wildlife Trust, Bench Marks Foundation, groundWork, Federation for a Sustainable Environment and the Association for Water and Rural Development v the Minister of Mineral Resources, Atha-Africa Ventures (Pty) Ltd and others

Legal challenges

In this matter, 8 civil society and community organisations are challenging the decisions by various organs of state to authorise Atha-Africa Ventures (Pty) Ltd’s Yzermyn Colliery in the Mabola Protected Environment near Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga Province. Those decisions are the following:

The decision by the Minister of Mineral Resources to grant a mining right in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002

Internal appeal to the Minister of Mineral Resources

Judicial review

The decision by the Department Mineral Resources to approve Atha’s environmental management programme in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002

The decision by the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environmental Affairs to grant environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998

Internal appeal

Judicial review 

The decision by the Department of Water and Sanitation to grant a water use licence in terms of the National Water Act, 1998

The decisions by the Minister of Mineral Resources and the Minister of Environmental Affairs to give Atha-Africa-Ventures (Pty) Ltd permission to mine in a protected environment in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003

On 24 July 2017, the applicants applied to court for an order setting aside the decisions of the Minister of Mineral Resources and the Minister of Environmental Affairs to give Atha-Africa Ventures (Pty) Ltd permission to mine in the Mabola Protected Environment in terms of section 48(1)(b) of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003. the review application was combined with an application for an interdict, in terms of which Atha-Africa Ventures (Pty) Ltd would be prevented from commencing mining operations pending the outcome of the review application.

Objection to the land use change application in terms of Regulation 18(1)(b) of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Regulations: Land Use Management and General Matters, 2015, read with Section 98 of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management By-law for Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality, 2016

Atha-Africa Ventures (Pty) Ltd (Atha) has applied to change the land use for of Portion 1 of the Farm Yzermyn 96 HT, being the intended location of the surface infrastructure of the proposed mine. The stated purpose of the application is to change the land use of the property in order that such may be used for mining and ancillary purposes. The CER, on behalf of MEJCON-SA, groundWork, Earthlife, BirdLife-SA, EWT, FSE, AWARD and the Bench Marks Foundation, has lodged an objection to the application.

Interdict application

The applicants requested the Court to interdict Atha Africa Ventures (Pty) Ltd from commencing mining operations pending the outcome of their appeal against the decision of the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs to grant AAV an environmental authorisation for its proposed coal mining operation in the Mabola Protected Environment and until application has been made and authorisation has been granted in terms of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013 for a change of land use in respect of the properties subject to AAV’s mining right. A court order was granted by agreement between the parties.

Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

Report a Violation

National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours): 0800 205 005

In addition, there are a number of national and provincial hotlines that may be useful.

Contact us

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