JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Conservation organisation World Wide Fund for Nature-South Africa (WWF-SA) on Tuesday expressed concern about a letter sent by Environmental Affairs Minister Dr Edna Molewa to Indian company Atha-Africa Ventures, approving the development of an underground coal mine, in the Mabola Protected Environment (MEP), in Mpumalanga.
“It is puzzling that, within 18 months of its declaration [as a protected area], the protections that were afforded to Mabola are now being eroded,” it stated.
The organisation said it had a copy of the letter indicating that Molewa had authorised the application in August 2016 and that she was a co-signatory with Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane who signed off on the application in November 2016. In terms of the law, both signatures are required for mining to go ahead.
However, it says, to date, there has been no public announcement to this effect.
“Coal mining in strategic water source areas is not only contrary to sound scientific advice, but also to basic common sense. These are areas of high biodiversity which are critical for water generation and future economic growth. WWF will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the best interests of society are pursued,” said WWF-SA CEO Dr Morné du Plessis.
Mining Weekly Online has contacted the DEA for further comment.