NGO Coalition Appeals Water Use Licence Granted to CoAL

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9 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 11 μήνες)

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NGO Coalition Appeals Water
Use Licence Granted to CoAL

Written by: 2011/07/29
12:00:00 AM


The coalition of civil society organisations that has opposed the proposed Vele

colliery of
Limpopo Coal Company (Pty) Ltd, a wholly
-
owned subsidiary of Australian mining
company Coal of Africa Limited, will today lodge an appeal with the Water Tribunal against
the water use licence granted to Limpopo Coal for its proposed Vele colli
ery by Acting
Director
-
General of the Department of Water Affairs (DWA), Mr Trevor Balzer, on 29
March 2011.


The coalition of civil society organisations that has opposed the proposed Vele colliery of
Limpopo Coal Company (Pty) Ltd, a wholly
-
owned subsid
iary of Australian mining
company Coal of Africa Limited, will today lodge an appeal with the Water Tribunal against
the water use licence granted to Limpopo Coal for its proposed Vele colliery by the Acting
Director
-
General of the Department of Water Affa
irs (DWA), Mr Trevor Balzer, on 29
March 2011.



The Coalition in this appeal consists of the Mapungubwe Action Group, the Endangered
Widlife Trust, the Wilderness Foundation, BirdLife South Africa, the Association of
Southern African Professional Archaeol
ogists and the Peace Parks Foundation.



The proposed opencast colliery would be situated in close proximity to the Mapungubwe
National Park and World Heritage Site in northern Limpopo, which forms part of the
proposed transfrontier conservation park betwe
en South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.



Since it first became aware of the mining right awarded to Limpopo Coal at this important
site, the Coalition has also:



lodged appeals against the mining right and environmental management programme
for the Vele

colliery approved by the Department of Mineral Resources in 2010;



in August 2010, launched interdict proceedings against Limpopo Coal and the
Minister of Mineral Resources, which application must still be heard in the High
Court;



opposed applications by
Limpopo Coal to the Department of Environmental Affairs
for rectification of illegal activities at the site. On 25 July 2011, the Coalition filed its
notice of intention to appeal the environmental authorisation granted by the
Department of Environmental A
ffairs on 5 July 2011, rectifying the illegal activities
undertaken by Limpopo Coal in 2010.

The water use licence granted on 29 March 2011 gave Limpopo Coal the right, amongst other
things, to:



abstract more than 2,4 billion litres of water per year (2 45
2 800 m3/annum) from the
Limpopo alluvial aquifer based on an average of more than 6,7 million litres per day
(6 720 m3 per day);





do opencast dewatering (i.e. pumping contaminated water from teh opencast pit) to a
maximum quantify of 109 million litres per

year (109 500 m3 per annum);



irrigate land with waste, or water containing waste and dispose of waste into various
facilities;



impede or divert the flow of water in a watercourse by constructing access road
culverts in an unnamed tributary of the Limpopo
River; and



alter the bed, banks, course or characteristic of a watercourse by construction of three
pipeline crossings.

The Coalition's appeal to the Water Tribunal is based on 17 separate grounds of appeal, a
summary of which is attached hereto. Notable g
rounds of appeal include:



The DWA based its decision on a reserve determination which relied on inaccurate,
apartheid
-
era population data from 1991. The DWA assumed that only 495 people
required water for basic human needs from the particular subcatchment,

when in fact
there are thousands of people living in the area. In terms of the National Water Act,
the reserve must be determined for each licence to ensure that enough water is kept
aside for people's basic human needs, and to maintain the ecological int
egrity of the
water resource.



The DWA ignored the precepts and recommendations of its own strategic documents,
such as the National Water Resource Strategy and the Limpopo Internal Strategic
Perspective, both of which contain strict warnings about the wate
r
-
stressed nature of
this particular catchment and advise against the issuing of new water use licences in
the area.



The proposed use of water by Limpopo Coal would not be efficient or beneficial,
since its proposed "closed system" for contaminated water m
anagement makes no
effort to treat or to conserve water and still poses risks of contamination of
groundwater. Instead of treating contaminated water and putting it back into the water
resource, this "closed system" would remove precious water from the wat
er resource
without returning it for others to use.



The proposed use of water by Limpopo Coal would not be in the public interest,
particularly since Limpopo Coal has a history of non
-
compliance with the National
Water Act and other environmental legislati
on.



The proposed mining operation would be far closer to the Limpopo River than is
stated in the water use licence application and in the licence itself.



Inadequate assessment of the risks of acid mine drainage and acid rock drainage had
not been remedied
by Limpopo Coal by the time the licence was awarded.



The DWA

did not give adequate consideration to the opinions of other authorities
who had expressed grave concerns about the proposed colliery.



The potential socio
-
economic benefits of the proposed collie
ry have been overstated
by Limpopo Coal.



The DWA failed to consider the impact of the colliery's proposed water use on
climate change, water security and food security.

The Coalition will file further papers in the appeal once written reasons for the decis
ion, as
well as the full record of decision, have been made available by the DWA.



In terms of the National Water Act, lodging the appeal with the Water Tribunal has the effect
of immediately suspending the decision by the DWA

to award the licence to Limp
opo Coal
until a decision has been made by the Water Tribunal.





A copy of the appeal can be downloaded later today on the following websites:

www.ewt.org.za

www.savemapungubwe.org.za

http://cer.org.za/hot
-
topics/mapungubwe



For comment on this media release, please contact:

Carolyn Ah Shene
-
Verdoorn

Policy &

Advocacy Manager

BirdLife South Africa

Tel. +2
7 (0)11 789 1122

Email:
advocacy@birdlife.org.za

www.birdlife.org.za



Yolan Friedmann

Chief Executive Officer

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: (011) 372 3600

Email:
yolanf@ewt.org.za

www.ewt.org.za



Melissa Fourie

Executive Director

Centre for Environmental Rights

Tel: (011) 447 1647

Email:
mfourie@c
er.og.za



Or



EWT

Media Office

media@ewt.org.za

011 372 3600