DMR rehabilitates derelict and ownerless mines, not abandoned sites

17th September 2012 By: Megan van Wyngaardt - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has plans for the rehabilitation of derelict and ownerless mines, but will not rehabilitate abandoned mining sites, director Zingaphi Jakuja said on Monday.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu last week indicated in a Parliamentary question that the DMR had not rehabilitated any abandoned mining sites in the previous two financial years and that it did not plan to rehabilitate any in the 2012/13 year.

Jakuja explained that the regulatory framework did not provide space for abandoned mines, and provided that owners should make sufficient provisions for mine closure when starting the mine.

“There are legal ramifications for abandoned mines and so the department is seized with rehabilitation of derelict and ownerless mine sites and not abandoned mines,” he told Mining Weekly Online.

Currently, there are about 5 858 derelict and ownerless mines in South Africa, with the biggest number, some 1 037, in the Northern Cape, followed by 945 in the North West province.

The DMR’s yearly performance plan for 2012/13 committed it to the rehabilitation of 12 derelict and ownerless mines.

Jakuja said that derelict and ownerless mines presented a State liability.