The article “Director gets jail for land damage” (Business Report, February 10) has reference. The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) noted with concern insinuations made by your reporter, Londiwe Buthelezi, that the department “did not act” in the matter regarding Blue Platinum Ventures. This is false, and contrary to what transpired.

Following routine inspections by the department and a complaint from the public, the department commissioned a full-scale investigation into the matter.

Based on its findings, the DMR issued orders, instructions and notices to Blue Platinum Ventures as provided for in terms of sections 47 and 93 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act. Despite several engagements, Blue Platinum Ventures continuously failed to address the issues and the department deemed it necessary to take severe action.

On September 2, 2013, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu cancelled immediately the company’s mining right in terms of section 47 of the act.

As part of the cancellation, the department explicitly informed Matome Maponya, the managing director, that the company would remain liable for the environmental degradation or damage, despite cancellation of the right. The department indicated that it would take further steps if the company did not fulfil its obligations in this regard.

By the company’s own admission, the decision to cancel the right was warranted and it also acknowledged its obligations.

Also, the firm undertook to remedy the environmental damage caused by mining.

It is worth mentioning that the case that led to prosecution was strengthened by the DMR, through working and co-operating with the investigation team and providing guidance on the applicable provisions of the act. It is not an overstatement to suggest that the department was instrumental in the successful prosecution of the company’s director.

It is, therefore, regrettable to note that your newspaper went ahead and published an article that seeks to portray the DMR in this manner, without seeking to establish the facts. We urge you to undertake more thorough research on these matters in future, lest they bring the credibility of your publication into question.

Ayanda Shezi

Department of Mineral Resources