MSR granted EA to prospect for minerals on West Coast; public appeals window open until 22 March.

Part Australian-owned mining company Mineral Sands Resources (MSR) has been granted an Environmental Authorization (EA) to prospect for heavy minerals and diamonds on the Farm Klipvley Karoo Kop 153, in the Magisterial District of Vanrhynsdorp, Western Cape Province. Appeals must be lodged before 22 March 2024 with the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

One of MSR’s beach mining operations. This is just a small portion of an area in which they mine. Notice the full scale beach mining taking place. Image sourced from Ours, Not Mine.

The Environmental Authorization (EA) was granted in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No 107 of 1998) and the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014 (as amended 2017). 

The EA allows Mineral Sands Resources (MSR) to prospect for zirconium ore, rutile (heavy mineral), rare earths, monazite (heavy mineral), leucoxene (heavy mineral), heavy minerals (general), garnet (abrasive), diamonds (alluvial diamond and diamond general) and ilmenite on Portion 1,2, 3 and the remainder of the farm Klipvley Karoo Kop 153, in the magisterial district of Vanrhynsdorp, Western Cape Province.

The already saturated area the application is for. Many other mines are operating in this sensitive area. Map by Rio Button.

According to the EA, this prospecting activity will include so-called ‘desktop activities’ in the form of data analysis, as well as physically intrusive ‘surface mapping’ of at least 200 shallow pits of 50cm x 50cm x 1 metre in depth, 100 shallow small diameter ‘augur drill holes’ down to an average depth of four metres, and 250 ‘Air core’ boreholes, each with a footprint of 50m2

The digging will all be followed by further data analysis to determine whether or where on the 3635-hectare prospecting site it will be viable to mine for the above heavy minerals and diamonds.  

As with all prospecting applications, the initial disruption to the environment will be followed by full-blown mining, and MSR is beholden to the terms of the EA to backfill and rehabilitate all of the above physical prospecting to its original state. The implementation of which remains to be seen. 

Should their prospecting indicate that it is feasible to mine in the area, the company will then apply for a mining right the granting of which appears to be a foregone conclusion and begin ripping up yet another untouched stretch of the ecologically fragile Cape West Coast, in an area already currently under enormous pressure from the mining industry.

The prospecting area will be on portions 1,2, 3 and the remainder of the farm Klipvley Karoo Kop 153, in the magisterial district of Vanrhynsdorp, Western Cape Province. Map supplied by Greenmined.

The public is urged to appeal against the decision. The reference no is: WC 30/5/1/3/3/2/1/ 10433 PR.

In terms of the National Appeals Regulations, an appellant must submit the appeal to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and a copy of such appeal to the Department of Mineral Resources (Western Cape Regional Office), within 20 days from the date of notification (22 March 2024), and such appeal must be lodged as prescribed by Chapter 2 of the National Appeal Regulation of 2014, by means of the methods as prescribed below:

Appeal to the Department of Environmental Affairs:

Attention: Director Appeals and Legal Review

Email: appeals@environment.gov.za

By Post: Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001

By Hand: Environmental House, (473 Steve Biko) corner Steve Biko and Soutpansberg Street,

Arcadia, Pretoria, 0083

Copy of the lodged appeal to the Department of Mineral Resources:

Attention: Regional Manager: Western Cape Region

By facsimile: (021) 427 1046

Email: Pieter.Swart@dmre.gov.za

By Post: Private Bag X09, Roggebaai 8012

By Hand: 44 Strand Street, 7th Floor, Cape Town, 8000

In the event that you decide to appeal the decision, you must comply with the National Appeal Regulations of 2014 in relation to notification of the applicant and all registered interested and affected parties. A copy of the official appeal form can be obtained from the Department of Environmental Affairs.

The EA document is available for download below.

Source: Greenmined

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