Metro committed to fast-tracking ore dump move

2018-01-17 06:01
NMB Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip together with MMC for EDTA, Andrew Whitfield, MMC for Public Health, Lance Grootboom, and MMC for SRAC, Siyasanga Sijadu last week visited the Transnet manganese ore export site, following public concern at the contamination of air, private property and facilities of neighbouring communities and businesses.     Photos:THANDI SETOKOE

NMB Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip together with MMC for EDTA, Andrew Whitfield, MMC for Public Health, Lance Grootboom, and MMC for SRAC, Siyasanga Sijadu last week visited the Transnet manganese ore export site, following public concern at the contamination of air, private property and facilities of neighbouring communities and businesses. Photos:THANDI SETOKOE

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NELSON Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip has assured that the metro is committed to working with Transnet to accelerate the relocation of bulk fuel storage and ore export facilities at the Port Elizabeth Harbour to the specially designed Port of Ngqura as soon as possible.

Trollip was speaking at a site visit at the Transnet manganese ore export site last week. This, after recent public concern over manganese dust air pollution from Transnet’s two manganese ore facilities which is said to be damaging residents’ property while also posing a serious health threat.

Responding to the outcry, Trollip said while it is physically impossible to handle this amount of mined product without dust, they are going to co-operate with Transnet to see what can be done to facilitate the move as speedily as possible to a facility that is better suited.

“No one would expect this amount of mined material to be dust-free which is one of the reasons why we have got to take every precaution to mitigate the dust because it has health concerns.

“I, too, would like to see the ore dump gone sooner than the scheduled move in 2023 but obviously that is impractical,” Trollip said.

As much as they wanted the manganese to be exported out of the Nelson Mandela Bay port, they believed that the lifespan of the current facilities had expired, he said.

Port manager Rajesh Dana said, “We do not dispute the fact that the manganese operation in the Port of Port Elizabeth creates an inconvenience to port tenants and residents. However, as a responsible corporate citizen we have superior operational and compliance controls in place to mitigate these negative impacts.”

Dana said independent scientific data confirmed that the current operations did not pose any medical harm to the health of employees and residents.

“Transnet will continue to employ innovative technologies, seeking guidance from the International Manganese Institute to ensure that our operations remain safe and efficient,” Dana said. He outlined the Port’s five-point plan which includes:

  • The review of controls with particular emphasis on dust suppression systems.
  • The continued analysis and collation of data relating to air emissions and environmental impacts, with appropriate remediation action.
  • The establishment of a hotline to register any public concerns around manganese, which Transnet will use to improve its operations. The telephone number is 041 507 1910.
  • Monthly meetings with manganese operators to ensure the safe, secure and efficient export.
  • Quarterly public engagements with key stakeholders to share information transparently.

Eastern Cape general manager of Transnet Port Terminals Siya Mhlaluka said Nelson Mandela Bay remained the primary corridor in this country to export manganese.

“The Port of Ngura is what we are going to use to do that. We have noted the concerns around the timelines and we are working tirelessly within Transnet to ensure that we push those timelines forward,” Mhlaluka said.

He said they already started some minor operations of manganese at the Port of Ngura following a high demand of manganese.

“We want to test our readiness so that by the time we have a fully-fledged operation in Nqura, we will be more than ready,” Mhlaluka added.

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