Numerous legislative Acts have been promulgated to regulate and mitigate effects of mining and associated activities in South Africa and Namibia. The main environmental provisions of Acts pertinent to the management of activities affecting the BCLME are described below. At the time that this report was prepared, no information was available regarding legislation controlling the exploitation of minerals in Angola.
5.2 South Africa
5.2.1 Minerals Act, 1991 (Act 50 of 1991)
Prior to commencing prospecting or mining operations, section 39 of the Minerals Act requires a “layout plan and rehabilitation programme”, now referred to as an Environmental Management Plan Report (EMPR) to be submitted to the regional director Department of Mines and Energy (DME). Prior to approval of an EMPR, the regional director must consult with Cape Nature Conservation and/or Sea Fisheries Research Institute for comment. Exemptions from EMPRs may be granted in certain circumstances, however. Procedural, format and performance assessment requirements for these documents are detailed in Section 5.2.5 below.
The Act requires the holder of the prospecting permit or mining licence to rehabilitate the “surface of land” to the Regional Director’s satisfaction and to do this as an integral part of, and simultaneous with, prospecting or mining operations. On termination of prospecting and mining activities, all structures not required by the landowner are to be demolished and all debris removed. The mining licence holder is responsible for rehabilitation, until such time that the Regional Director issues a closure certificate. Before a mining or prospecting licence is granted, the applicant must demonstrate the financial ability to pay for rehabilitation by establishing a rehabilitation trust fund, submitting bank guarantees, lodging cash with the DME or by other mutually acceptable arrangements.
5.2.2 Environmental Conservation Act, 1989 (Act 73 of 1989)
Regulations promulgated in September 1997 under the Environmental Conservation Act 1989, list activities which require an Environmental Assessment and the procedures to be followed. Although mining per se is not a listed activity (as it is in Namibia’s Draft Environmental Management Bill 1998) several land use activities ancillary to mining are listed. These include roads, harbours, structures and reclamation of land below the high water mark, dams, onshore infrastructure and services (sewage treatment, waste disposal), and industrial buildings.
5.2.3 National Environmental Management Bill of 1998
Provisions of the Environmental Conservation Act, 1989 and its regulations relating to listed activities and compilation of environmental impact reports will be repealed by promulgation of the National Environmental Management Bill of 1998. The aim of this bill is to co-ordinate the activities of all listed state departments having an influence on the environment, and to allow for revision of regulations on listed activities and environmental management procedures. Until new regulations on procedures, report contents and listed activities are gazetted, existing regulations for EIAs under the Environmental Conservation Act, 1989 and regulations for EMPRs under the Minerals Act 1991 remain in force. EMPR requirements are currently being revised by the DME in accordance with the National Environmental Management Bill, and are due for implementation in June 1999 (MME pers. comm.).
5.2.4 Other Legislation Relevant to Environmental Aspects of Mining Activities
Other statutory acts and regulations applicable to marine mining activities and employee behaviour on land and at sea are listed and described briefly below:
Pollution at Sea
Prevention and Combating of Pollution of the Sea by Oil Amendment Act 24 of 1991 – regulates oil pollution from ships at sea
Marine Pollution (Control and Civil Liability) Act 6 of 1981 (and Marine Notices) – establishes reporting requirements and procedures for oil spills and oil bunkering
1973 Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) – controls all waste disposal at sea (oil, hazardous waste, solid waste (plastics, tins, glass, organic matter etc, and sewage). RSA is a signatory on this convention.
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was adopted in 1987 to which signatories undertake to control and limit the consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and not to import CFCs from states which are not parties to the Protocol.
Use of Harbours and Ports, Landing Facilities and Specific Tidal Rivers by Vessels
Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998 and its regulations of September 1998 – regulates use of fishing harbours by vessels and staff
South African Transport Services Act 65 of 1981 – regulates use of harbours under Portnet’s jurisdiction (e.g. Port Nolloth)
Sea Shore Act 21 of 1935 and Environmental Conservation Act 73 of 1989 – controls construction of structures below high water mark (e.g. jetties)
Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance 19 of 1974 – regulates boating on Verlorenvlei, the Olifants River, and lower Berg River
Vehicle Access to Coastal Zone and Other Sea Shore Activities
Control of Vehicles in the Coastal Zone* (Regulations under Environmental Conservation Act 73 of 1989) – requires implementation of a permit system for beach use by vehicles, restricts vehicle use to non-sensitive areas (e.g. below high water mark, away from dunes) and to existing tracks
* Specifically excludes approved diamond mining activities, although MME has pledged to apply these regulations through EMPRs (MME pers. comm.)
Regulations and bylaws under the Sea Shore Act 21 of 1935 promulgated by local authorities – controls beach access, littering, camping, bathing, launching of boats, and in the case of the West Coast District Council, disturbance of animals, birds and plants below the high water mark
Disturbance or Damage to Natural and Cultural Resources
Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998 and its regulations of September 1998 – licences required for cutting and removal of kelp, disturbance or collection of lobsters; and all other forms of fishing
Sea Birds and Seals Protection Act 46 of 1973 – controls disturbance of sea birds and seals on islands (no-one may set foot on an island without permission)
Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance (19 of 1974) – regulates hunting; disturbance of wild animals, collection and damage to plants, pollution of inland waters
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity – conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components, and equitable share of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
National Monuments Act 28 of 1969* – disturbance and removal of archaeological and palaeontological sites and shipwrecks
* This act excludes mining from disturbance to archaeological sites except shell middens and cave contents (i.e. the majority of sites in the coastal zone)