Australian Coal of Africa, (CoAL), is due to resume production at its Vele Colliery project in Limpopo.
Briefing journalists in Pretoria, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs Department Deputy Director-General Ishaam Abader said that his governmental agency granted environmental authorization to the CoAL mining company two weeks ago, BuaNews news agency reported.
CoAL is involved in coal mining activities outside Musina in Limpopo, five miles from the Mapungubwe, designated in 2003 by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site.
Seeking to quell controversy over the governmental decision, Abader said that his department was satisfied on the basis of information provided to it by CoAL and that its activities would be required to comply with the department’s environmental statutes.
According to Abader, the authorization came with conditions, with the official telling reporters, "This activity shall resume within a period of one month from the date of issue unless directed otherwise. If resumption of the activity does not occur within that period, the authorization lapses and a new application for environmental authorization shall be made in order for the activity to resume."
CoAL had earlier illegally commenced mining activities without environmental authorization, which contravened South Africa’s National Environment Management Act (NEMA), leading the Department of Environmental Affairs to cite the company with a compliance notice, which ended all mining activity at the site. As a result of the sanctions, CoAL paid nearly $1.47 million in administrative fines to the Department of Environmental Affairs.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com