The Democratic Alliance has officially lodged an objection with the Department of Minerals and Resources against the proposed open cast coal mine to be situated on the Palmietkuilen farm in Lesedi.
Given the rapid slowdown of SA’s economy, and Eskom’s decision earlier in the year to reduce four coal power stations supply, so as to incorporate more independent power producers on to the grid, the need for this mine, in what is an environmentally sensitive region, is not justified.
225.2 hectares of wetland, the Aston Lake and three plant species with red data status will be threatened should this mining operation go ahead. Given South Africa’s poor track record with the implementation of environmental laws by law enforcement agencies, there is a substantial risk that the regions already poorly treated water-ways will be exposed to acid mine water.
Notwithstanding the insistence in the EIA that these impacts can be mitigated, we have no confidence in the regulatory authority’s ability to enforce laws in this regard.
At a local level, and even beyond at a provincial and national level, the re-zoning of this agricultural greenland to a mining zone will have a negative impact on food security. The area is home to chicken and egg farms with an annual turnover of R393.3million, directly employing 332 people. Direct jobs and ancillary jobs are on the line in an already protracted labour market.
Further to this, property rates in the area will be lowered, making it more difficult for home owners to find value in the properties that they currently own.
This proposed mine only stands to benefit the company applying for the rights to mine and the trucking companies who will move the coal.
The environment, livelihoods, homes and futures all stand to be lost should this project go through.
The DA will fight this proposed mine on the grounds that the Constitution enshrines every South African’s right to an environment that is not harmful to their wellbeing or health.