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MEDIA STATEMENT - 10 AUGUST 2010
Coal of Africa issued with compliance notice to cease with illegal environmental activities at Vele Colliery
The Department of Environmental Affairs can confirm that on Thursday, 05 August 2010, its Environmental Management Inspectorate (Green Scorpions) issued a compliance notice to Coal of Africa to cease with activities that are in contravention of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA).
The compliance notice instructs Coal of Africa to: cease with all physical construction related activities on the access roads and roads falling within, and outside the mining right area, within 24 hours of issuance of the notice.
The notice further stipulates that utilization of these roads for any purpose must cease in time frames ranging from 24 hours, 48 hours, to 3 days respectively, on receipt of the notice. The mine is also not permitted to increase the current development footprint.
In relation to the constructed storage facility for the above ground storage of a dangerous good, the notice states that physical construction related activities associated with the storage facility and tank must cease within 24 hours. In addition, within 48 hours, the storage tank on the site must be emptied and the fuel removed to a facility that is legally authorised to store such fuel.
The instructions in the notice also requires the immediate cessation (24 hours) with any further activities within the 1:10 flood line and/ or 32 meters from any perennial, non perennial and/or drainage lines of the Limpopo river.
In relation to the constructed water pipeline network installed from the pump system to all the areas (within and outside the mining right area), the notice calls for the immediate cessation (24 hours) of any further installation of the pipeline to any area (either within and/or outside the mining right area). Coal of Africa must also immediately cease using the pipeline (for facilitating the movement of water) until such time as an environmental authorisation has been obtained.
All construction related activities related to the Sludge Dam must stop within 24 hours upon receipt of the compliance notice. The dam may not be utilised for the storage of any water or waste related products until such time as all authorisations have been obtained from both the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Water Affairs.
An independent, accredited environmental consultant or legal specialist must be appointed by Coal of Africa within 5 working days of receipt of the compliance notice to submit a report to the Department within 15 working days assessing the applicability of all relevant environmental legislation to the activities proposed for the site (throughout the construction, operational and decommissioning phases for the activities commenced and proposed for this site).
The Green Scorpions will be monitoring the situation at Vele Colliery.
Failure to comply with the instructions in the notice is a criminal offence and would result in further charges to the criminal investigation that is already underway. Should the mine fail to comply with the instructions, the Department may also approach the High Court for an interdict.
Coal of Africa can object to the compliance notice as well as request a suspension from the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in relation to all or some of the instructions set out in the compliance notice. Coal of Africa has the option to submit rectification applications to the Department in relation to the illegal activities; however, the instructions in the compliance notice must be complied with pending the outcome of any suspension or objection application to the Minister.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS ON 10 AUGUST 2010
: The photos from our trip! Overhere! Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c