AfriForum on 24 November 2020, learnt that the proposed coal mine that was planned by Manzolwandle Investments in close proximity to the Kruger National Park, has been stopped in its tracks.
The Department of Minerals and Energy sent a document stating the rejection of the development to Manzolwandle Investments on 28 October, and the company had to inform all interested and affected parties of the decision within 14 calendar days. AfriForum still hasn’t received any notice from them about the decision.
AfriForum laid criminal charges at the Komatipoort police station last year against Singo Consulting, after they were suspected of committing plagiarism, fraud and falsification in their environmental impact study. This came after AfriForum became aware that the company plagiarised other environmental consultants’ environmental impact studies in their own report.
Lambert de Klerk, Manager of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum, says it is a victory for all communities where illegal and irregular processes are commonplace during mining applications. AfriForum will monitor the situation and also get involved in other similar cases if need be.
According to De Klerk an investigation will be done regarding the physical locations of these two companies. The one company’s registered address only shows a stretch of empty field. “Besides the irregularities that are already evident, one has to ask how it is possible for a mining company to apply for a mining permit if they don’t even have a physical address where they can be visited,” says De Klerk.
Manzolwandle Investments wants to establish the coal mine in an area of 18 000 hectares close to the Kruger National Park. This will have enormous negative and destructive consequences on the immediate environment, the Crocodile River and other water sources, nature reserves, wildlife, the road network in Mpumalanga and agricultural activities. De Klerk believes that Mpumalanga as a tourist destination could face economic collapse should illegal mining activities be allowed to continue.
De Klerk also highlighted a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal against the Department of Environmental Affairs and of Mineral Resources that approved Atha-Africa Ventures to go ahead with a coal mine in the Mabola area in Mpumalanga. The application had been quietly approved, despite the fact that the area was a proclaimed conservation area. The court found that the ministers’ processes weren’t transparent and that the decision was taken too hastily.
“It seems as if these types of transgressions are on the rise, and AfriForum will not simply sit on the sidelines and watch how illegal mining activities destroy the country,” says De Klerk.
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Read the original article in Afrikaans on AfriForum
South Africa Today – South Africa News