Jan 27, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

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Agri SA wants Ramaphosa to intervene in unregulated sand mining activities

Agri SA said it was writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa to demand that all mining permit applications and ongoing mining activities cease.

The Agribusiness Organization urged Ramaphosa coordinate urgent interventions to prevent large-scale environmental degradation from unregulated sand mining activities.

In a statement released Thursday, the organization said it was concerned about the rapid spread of illegal and unregulated sand mining activities near the recently proclaimed Musina -Makhado Special Economic Zone in Limpopo.

Illegal mining by alleged artisanal miners in the Sand River basin, a tributary of the Limpopo River – one of the most important watercourses in southern Africa – was said to have hurt the agricultural sector in that province Crisis level reached.

“It seems that the mining companies involved and the environmental assessment practitioners in it Acting on behalf of Alf are trying to circumvent permitting requirements for environmental and water use licenses by applying for multiple mining permits for adjacent areas, each less than 5 ha in size, but together covering an extensive area of ​​about 70 ha,” Agri SA said .

It said that in many cases there had been no public consultation.

Agri SA said this activity had serious impacts on the environment, food production and the proper management of water resources in of the region.

< p>The problem was said to extend beyond Limpopo as similar activity was reported across SA. Current mining laws do not regulate artisanal mining as a distinct form of mining. Agri SA said that Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe published the Small-Scale Mining Directive on March 30, which aims to create a formal small-scale mining industry that can operate sustainably and contribute to the economy. The policy also aims to prevent illegal mining.

“But this task cannot be done given the far-reaching consequences of this illegal activity on the environment, the agricultural sector, and the country’s already scarce water resources.”

Agri SA said that the inter-ministerial body that Ramaphosa should convene should include Ministers for Minerals and Energy, Water and Sanitation, Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Agriculture and Land Reform and Rural Development to ensure that the ASM policy does not being abused at the expense of the country’s natural resources.

“Current abuses must be curbed swiftly to ensure the future success and sustainability of both the agricultural and mining sectors, and to protect the environment and water resources of the to protect affected areas,” said Agri SA.

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