Objections flood in over Doornpoort mining plan

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PN Mine Land--Doornkop Independent Newspapers. The land that has been earmarked for the development of a platinum mine close to Pretoria. On the right is a map showing the location of the proposed mine. Picture: Oupa Mokoena.

Pretoria - Objections have continued to pour in as preparations gained momentum for commencement of mining activities in Doornpoort, just north of the N4.

The Pretoria News reported this week that the Department of Mineral Resources had awarded a five-year prospecting right on a property in Doornpoort, 10km north of the CBD, to Gemsbok Platinum (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of JSE-listed Sable Platinum (Pty) Ltd.

The right will allow the company to conduct mapping, sampling and geographical surveying for vanadium, titanium, iron ore and associated minerals to assess the viability of applying for a mining licence.

The Doornpoort Residents Association, AfriForum and several other stakeholders in the area have appealed against the decision to grant the prospecting permit.

Arno Sebulke, who owns a smallholding in Doornpoort, said the entire process had been “dodgy from the start”, and he refused to support prospecting or mining in the area.

“First, their notice of intention was put up in all sorts of strange places on the eve of Christmas last year when we were all away.

“When we returned, we had just two days to file objections and comments,” he said.

Sebulke said it was well known that there were minerals on the property, and it was just a matter of time before Sable Platinum applied for and got a mining licence.

“Doornpoort is a quiet area. Mining will bring noise and our borehole water will be contaminated.

“Why did they even consider bringing a mine in the middle of a city?” he asked.

The Capital City Business Chamber has also warned that while mining would provide a financial injection to Pretoria, infrastructure such as roads, stormwater drainage and electricity were already inadequate and would be under more pressure.

Wonderboom Airport has registered as an interested and affected party. However, its management said no information had been received to help evaluate the impact on the airport’s operations.

James Allan, chief executive of Sable Platinum, said the company was going ahead with the prospecting and would be commencing work early next year.

He said they would begin with a magnetometer survey that entailed a geologist walking over the ground measuring how magnetic the rocks were. This process would indicate where some exploration drilling should be done.

“We will probably use one drill to do the drilling. All the exploration work will take place north of the line of hills on the property and the residents of Doornpoort will not be affected by the exploration at all.

“During the prospecting phase there will be no jobs created in the area as the drilling is specialised and will be sub-contracted to experts in this field.”

Allan said that the man in the street would “not hear or see anything” other than perhaps a vehicle driving on and off the site daily. - Pretoria


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