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Water Affairs acts against four mines

Water affairs has taken legal action against four mines that continued operating without water-use licences despite being told to comply, Deputy Water Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said on Wednesday.

She told a media briefing at Parliament that a “random” audit of 86 mines had revealed six that were operating without a water licence.

File image: Reuters. Credit: REUTERS

Mabudafhasi said the charges had to do with “when they've polluted or continued to work without a licence, and yet they'd been issued a directive telling them that by a certain time they must have corrected [certain] issues”.

Responding to a question on the matter, water affairs chief operations officer Trevor Balzer named four the department had “taken legal action” against.

“[They are] Leliefontein, where there's no water-use licence, and we're taking criminal action; Mashala-Delta, also criminal action; and, Imbabala coal mine, where a pre-directive was issued, and the DMR [department of mineral resources] have put a stop to mining activities."

“[The fourth is] Xstrata's Onverdacht [mine], where we've issued a pre-directive [and] mining has been stopped,” he said. - I-Net Bridge

Xstrata responds:

It has come to Xstrata South Africa (Pty) Ltd's attention that your publication has run an article on the alleged legal action which the Department of Water Affairs has / intends to take against Xstrata’s Onverdacht Colliery for operating without a water use licence. We dispute this fact and are currently preparing correspondence to be sent to the Department addressing this issue containing  the correct facts. Onverdacht Colliery was awarded a water use licence in December 2009 and therefore there is no basis for the comments which have been made by Deputy Water Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi. We strongly suggest that your publication does not repeat the untruthful information regarding Onverdacht Colliery".

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