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Critical court showdown on mining and environment

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mining
mining

A CONTROVERSIAL Australian mining company’s allegedly illegal activities at its West Coast mine that resulted in massive environmental destruction is the subject of a legal battle starting in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on Monday.

The most obvious physical symbol of the dispute is a sea cliff directly in front of the Tormin mineral sands mine – 400km from Cape Town near Lutzville – that collapsed in January 2015.

But at the heart of this dispute is a much more significant issue, with potentially far-reaching legal and environmental consequences for the South African mining industry. This is the future application of the government’s recently introduced management system that transferred full responsibility for granting, monitoring and enforcing the conditions of environmental authorisations for prospecting and mining operations to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).

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