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Mining activities damaging the environment in South Africa

Nearly 40% of all the mines in South Africa do not comply with their own environmental management plans and it has severe negative implications for nature conservation in the country.

The abovementioned information was gleaned from the answer to a parliamentary question regarding mining activities in South Africa that the FF Plus posed to the Minister of Mineral Resources.

According to the answer, there is a total of 778 mining industries in South Africa and 290 of these do not comply with their own environmental management plans. The FF Plus will ask the Minister in a follow-up question what action is taken against the companies that violate the legal prescriptions in this regard.

A recent media report in the Daily Maverick (6 February 2019) indicates that the offenders who do great damage to the environment only get a light slap on the wrist.

The report states that the Australian company Mineral Sands Resources (MSR), which is excavating minerals on several beaches near Lutzville on the West Coast, is guilty of numerous violations that have caused great damage to the environment, among other things, building an illegal slimes dam spanning 2,2 hectares.

The company was fined a mere R1,2 million which, according to environmental activists, is much too little and, thus, will not serve as a deterrent.

It is imperative for the Department to take stricter action against offenders seeing as the environment and biodiversity is irreplaceable.

From the Minister's answer, it is evident that a total of 1172 applications for prospecting rights and 182 mining applications are currently being processed for approval. If the mining industry is healthy it is good for the country's economy, but it cannot be at the expense of the environment.

Contact details: 082 391 3117 / 065 801 7216

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