Prospecting licenses in the East Rand area might threaten major water supplies. Importantly, Ekurhuleni’s Agricultural Hub is being targeted. Previously, an application to mine coal in the Bapsfontein area was lodged. Moreover, Bapsfontein is a dolomite area with numerous, sizeable sinkholes. Additionally, mining in the area can literally tip the whole area into sinkholes.
Prospecting licences in a watershed area
Actually, prospecting in a key watershed area must surely raise alarms at the Department of Water Affairs? Notably, the Ekurhuleni Agricultural Hub contains several conservancies, red-listed flora and fauna, and water-vital peat beds. Plus, the area is the watershed for two large east rand dams, Bronkhorstspruit and Reitvlei dams. Certainly, rivers feeding the dams east of Johannesburg and Pretoria will be gravely affected by mining in the agricultural area.
Historically, applications posted are notified in the press and by notices displayed in affected areas. Unfortunately, the rural areas most affected by mining do not receive newspaper deliveries. And posted notices about prospecting licences are not placed in high traffic areas.
Unsuitable timing for public objections
In fact, South African law requires interested and affected parties a hearing. Unfortunately, the prospecting companies post notices and hold hearings in December and January. Undoubtedly, most affected parties are away from home at this time of year. Additionally, OUTA (Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse) proposes that neither parliament nor other organisations requiring public participation, hold such meetings at this time of year. Specifically, such activity is underhand in light of the public most affected being unaware of the proceedings.
Eastern Gauteng’s watershed under threat again by prospecting licenses
Reitvlei dam is a major water source for Tshwane. Certainly, residents of the city need to be aware of mining applications. Additionally, South Africa was a listed water-scarce country in a 2015 study by Maddocks, Maddocks, Young, and Reig. Significantly, it says, “…Botswana and South Africa could face an especially significant increase in water stress by 2040. This means that businesses, farms, and communities in these countries, in particular, may be more vulnerable to scarcity than they are today.”
Notably, communities cannot drink diamonds and gold.
Sound off your thought in the comments below. Remember to like us on Facebook and subscribe in the box below this article.