MAHIKENG MAIL-MAHIKENG: The North West MEC for Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism, Kenetswe Mosenogi accompanied by the Executive Mayor of Bojanala District Municipality, Cllr Matlakala Nondzaba, MMC Environmental Health Services, Cllr P Maremo and Environmental Technical teams led an engagement and environment inspection at Tharisa Mine, Rustenburg, recently.
The engagement was aimed at addressing complaints raised by communities residing in Mmaditlhokwa and Lapologang Villages regarding how the operations of Tharisa mine negatively affect their wellbeing.
The concern raised included noise and vibrations caused during blasting, air, and water pollution, and how they forced to evacuate their homes during the blasting schedule and radius of their houses to the mining zone. The meeting follows an episode that was aired on Checkpoint on eNCA, channel 405, on April 7 2022, where the community blamed the government for allowing the mine to violate their health and safety rights and a high number of registered patients at the local clinic for respiratory diseases due to air pollution.
MEC Mosenogi appealed to the management of Tharisa mine to have constant engagements with communities on issues affecting them to avoid community unrest. “As government we need to urgently develop an integrated plan to address all environmental issues affecting local community to rebuild and reposition our people’s confidence in government and private sector, fast track the relocation of the community and have an engagement with the community,” said Mosenogi.
She also urged mining management to have constant interaction with the local community and have economic activities that would change their current living conditions. She further urged them to send a public apology and make an undertaking and commitment to the residents of North West that they would adhere to legislative compliance issues as per mining prescripts.
Environmental Specialists from DEDECT, Department of Mineral Resource and Energy (DMRE), Bojanala, Rustenburg and Madibeng municipalities conducted assessment on the mining operations and recommended that Tharisa should comply with the National Environmental Air Quality Act and National Dust Control Regulations and review dust management plan.
MEC Mosenogi highlighted that mining companies should ensure that local small businesses have economic benefits as there were demands for equipment, infrastructure and services. For mining suppliers, there were many mining business opportunities in in this sector,” said the MEC.
Tharisa Mine was instructed to submit a comprehensive report on the remedial actions on the overall concerns raised by the local community, engage relevant authorities before relocation of the community and make a public apology to the community within seven (7) days after the meeting.
The department in partnership with Bojanala District Municipality and other relevant departments will conduct an Environmental Awareness Session with the community before the end of May 2022. The team will closely monitor progress in relation to Tharisa mining operations and report to the Political Heads of all the affected Departments and municipalities.
Part of the resolutions taken was for the establishment of a dedicated team comprising of all affected stakeholders to manage and closely monitor all the mining companies operating within the North West.