Written by Inlexso Environmental Department
In terms of the Supreme Court of Appeal Case of Company Secretary ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) v Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA), dealt with in our previous article, the court held that companies were compelled, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, to disclose environmental management information to third parties where such information was reasonably required for the protection of the constitutional right to an environment which is not harmful to the well-being or health of persons.
Taking into account the principle laid down in the ArcelorMittal case, and emphasis by various legislative provisions relating to the requirement of financial provision for the rehabilitation of the environment, such financial provision by companies will now have to be made public.
In terms of the National Environmental Management Act (“NEMA”), an applicant for an environmental authorization for a mine, must, before the Minister responsible for mineral resources issues the environmental authorisation, comply with the prescribed financial provision for the rehabilitation, closure and ongoing post decommissioning management of negative environmental impacts.
All environmental assessment reports, including all specialist reports, environmental management programmes (EMPr’s) and where applicable, closure plans, are all subjected to public participation. These documents must address the requirement pertaining to the financial provision for the rehabilitation, closure and post closure of prospecting, mining or production operations.
The EIA Regulations further provide that the holder of an environmental authorisation must ensure that the compliance with the conditions of the environmental authorisation and the EMPr, and where applicable the closure plan, is audited. Such audits reports must be made available to anyone on request for inspection and copying at the site of the authorised activity and on the holder of the environmental authorisation’s website. The same is applicable to the independent assessment of the financial provision for the rehabilitation, closure and post closure of prospecting, mining or production operations.
Always remember that Big Brother and his sidekicks are watching you.