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Thread: Richards Bay area under threat

  1. #1
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    Default Richards Bay area under threat

    I thought i would share this with you guys. A whale watch charter has posted on facebook that objections to this should be addressed to amelia@ages-group.com (http://www.ages-group.com/)

    http://www.zululandobserver.co.za/Pages/m02story10.html

    Outrage at Bay undersea mining plan

    STORY: Dirk Rezelman

    The South African government has given a Chinese trading group permission to start prospecting a 44 439 hectare submarine bloc off Richards Bay for heavy minerals, clay, limestone and sand. The Department of Mineral Resources says the prospecting area allocated to Global Autumn Trading 102 (Pty) Ltd (GAT) stretches shorewards north and south for 30kms on both sides of Richards Bay. GAT may conduct its operations a mere 500 metres from the stretches of all affected beaches. The uMthlathuze Council did not reply to enquiries on the approved prospecting activities, potentially the most extensive in the history of Richards Bay.

    Chinese expansion
    In 2008 China announced that in its insatiable hunger for resources it would start undersea mining seriously in 2012, naming African, Indian, Micronesian and Pacific blue water and shore-hugging sites. A number of permits have been already granted to Chinese operators by the International Seabed Authority, the world body granting such concessions in international waters. Minerals sought include zircon, rutile, titanium, gold, copper, lead, zinc, nickel, manganese, cobalt, iron ore and the newly identified poly-metallic sulphide ore in very deep waters.

    SA laws apply
    The Richards Bay prospecting permission falls under South African jurisdiction and the SA Government is clearly in favour of the Chinese initiative. Local tourism, fishing charter, ski-boat and B&B operators, hoteliers and Richards Bay residents are reeling under the news and have started to organise resistance to the plan stating that ‘unless we act now, all is lost as once this type of rapacious mining starts Richards Bay is doomed’.

    The compulsory publication of the government’s granting of the prospecting right application appeared on 23 December last year, at the height of the holiday season when few interested and affected parties read newspapers. The timing of the announcement is seen as ‘a clumsy subterfuge’ given that the laws governing such compliancy advertising have recently been amended, according to a KZN Provincial employee who requested anonymity.

    Assessors
    Bay residents are outraged that when undersea mining commences local beaches will be heavily polluted, smothering tourism and fishing. Prof Digby Cyrus, a prominent local academic with extensive experience in advising on Zululand marine developments, says that roiled sediments around Richards Bay can prove disastrous. The environmental assessment practitioners handling the application are African Geo-environmental Services (AGES) of Pretoria whose Amelia Maree initially agreed to answer the Zululand Observer’s questions telephonically. However after a while she suggested I interview AGES Director Michiel Grobler, who indicated he was in a Director’s meeting and would only consider e-mailed questions.

  2. #2
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    I heard about this a while ago........very concerning!!

  3. #3
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    Here is some feedback for anyone that interested. this email was addressed to the owner of the whale watch charter I referred to above:

    Prospecting Right Application in the magisterial district of Richards Bay. Ref: KZN 30/5/1/1/2/10150 PR

    Dear Mrs. B,

    Thank you for your interest in the above mentioned matter. Your email dated 10 January 2012 refers.

    We hereby acknowledge registration of yourself as an I&AP in the project’s Public Participation database.

    All your comments will be noted and addressed in the comments report to be submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).

    We would however at this stage like to clear some misunderstandings due to incorrect information placed in the public domain by a party/ parties unrelated to us or the applicant.

    Authorization Status: No prospecting right has been granted to the applicant yet. The application for a prospecting right was submitted to the DMR in August 2011, followed by an acceptance according to Section 16 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act 28 of 2002) on 4 December 2011. Following the acceptance of an application the applicant is required to submit an EMP to the DMR. The DMR then has the right to grant or refuse the application based on their review.

    Please note that the Prospecting EMP is in the process of being compiled and still needs to be considered and approved by the DMR before prospecting activities can begin. The site specific EMP will also contain a site sensitivity map that will highlight the sensitive and no go areas on the proposed prospecting sites. This EMP also states the conditions recommended through specialists for inclusion as conditions should the right be awarded to the applicant.

    Prospecting Applicant - Company: It appears that the public has been misinformed in this regard. The Applicant is a South African registered company forming part of a group that has a successful track record of mineral exploration and development, which is undertaken with due consideration for South African environmental legislation and related requirements.

    Prospecting methods:

    Should the right be granted to the Applicant the prospecting would be conducted in separate phases namely:

    Phase 1

    Non-Invasive Activities (Desktop Studies / Sidescan sonar)

    Determining the location of the shell/sand will be carried out using a sidescan sonar which will indicate the superficial sediment exposure. This will be followed by a pinger survey to indicate the sediment thickness. Phase 1 will be conducted over the entire area typically by means of a 30-35 m vessel equipped with the necessary geophysical instruments. Importantly these are well established non-invasive exploration techniques.

    Phase 2

    Limited Small scale Core sampling Activities

    Once the sediment location has been established, phase 2 will be focused on the very small and specific areas containing the desired sediments. A vessel equipped for sediment recovery on the seabed will be utilized to do this. Small sediment samples of about 5 -10 kg will be obtained by either lowering a grab sampler (500mm x 300mm total size) onto the seabed or by lowering a small tripod, some 3m in height, with an attached impact hammer onto the seabed. A PVC pipe (80 – 100mm diameter) will be pushed into the sediment layer (to a depth of about 20-30 cms). The sediment trapped in the pipe will be brought to surface. The sample obtained by these methods will be sent to a laboratory for a chemical analysis.

    It is expected that this phase will be limited to an area of 10 000ha with approximately 80 core and grab samples to be taken.

    Phase 3

    Pre-/Feasibility studies

    Results obtained from the prospecting will be used to create a resource model and a dredging plan to consider the next stage of evaluation which would be a Pre-feasibility OR feasibility study of the project area.

    Please note that only after phase I; should the application be granted by DMR, will there be clarity if the applicant would want to move into phase II and III and in which areas. This initial consultation process main aim is to get IAP’s opinions and concerns in this regard and to establish communication channels between land owners, lawful occupiers, other I&APs and the Prospecting Company. Should the prospecting be successful, which is not guaranteed, a separate Mining Right and COMPREHENSIVE EIA process would be required according to the relevant South African legislation, having its own public participation requirements, amongst other should the applicant wish to make a mining right application.

    Kind regards,

    Amelia Maree

    Environmental Consultant

    NDip Nature Conservation


    AGES (PTY) LTD

    Reg: 2002/001298/07 Vat: 4200204891


    GAUTENG OFFICEPlot 356 Zwavelpoort, Zwavelpoort

    Pretoria 0084



    Tel: +27 12 751 2160

    Fax:+27 86 607 2406

    Cell: +27 82 317 2923

    www.ages-group.com



    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this email are, unless otherwise stated, those of the author and not of AGES or its management. The information is confidential and is intended solely for the addressee. All reasonable steps are taken to insure the accuracy, integrity and confidentiality of information. No liability or responsibility is accepted if information is corrupted or does not reach its intended destination.
    Last edited by Ko7Ad; 13-01-12 at 08:09 AM.

  4. #4
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    haha...i mailed them yesterday with my concerns and was going to post that exact message this morning.

    they seem to have a generic response that is sent out to each individual that shows a concern.

    at least being registered as an I&AP means they have to keep us informed and deal with our objections publicly and usually in court
    bushveld scalies - worth the blood, sweat and tears

  5. #5
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    They can say what they want. It is still going to have a huge impact on marine life!

  6. #6
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    if it's all approved it definitely will indeed
    bushveld scalies - worth the blood, sweat and tears

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