News24

Cope: Get tough on mine rehab

2010-04-22 21:17

Cape Town - Government must take a tougher stance on holding mining companies responsible for the cleaning up of abandoned and derelict mines, Congress of the People MP Phillip Dexter said on Thursday.

Some companies had been "getting away with murder", Dexter told MPs, speaking in the National Assembly during debate on the mineral resources budget vote.

"In the future, we are not going to be able to fund, as a country, continually cleaning up after people who (make) super profits and then leave and go overseas.

"The government has to take a tougher stance on this issue with relation to the private companies, because I think they've been getting away with murder," he said.

Earlier, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu told the House she had established a rehabilitation oversight committee within her department to "drive the implementation of a rehabilitation programme for all mines".

This would apply to those that were licensed prior to the Minerals Act of 1991, and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002.

Implementation plan complete

"I have also signed off the rehabilitation strategy for these mines and I am now finalising the implementation plan and costs for the rehabilitation programme.

"An amount of R52m has been set aside for the implementation of this programme for 2010/11," she said.

Democratic Alliance MP Hendrik Schmidt said a recent Auditor-General report had noted the rehabilitation of derelict and abandoned mines would cost about R30bn.

"The department has in fact only allocated R52m towards (this). Without taking inflation into account, (rehabilitation) would take about 60 years at this rate," he said.

Shabangu, speaking at the end of the debate, said government could not budget R30bn for rehabilitation.

"The R52m we have, we are positive that this is the beginning. It will take us somewhere.

"I must also indicate... that derelict and abandoned mines are a legacy of the past, and the current laws are correcting that," she said.