Residents up in arms about prospecting Print
News - Aktueel
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 08:21
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Randquip is now applying for diamond as well as copper prospecting rights in the Rayton district.
At a public participation meeting on 1 August , Randquip discussed its prospecting right applications on portion 45 and six Kaalfontein 513 JR, and portion 20 Rietfontein 366 JR.

We reported about Randquip’s proposal for diamond prospecting in ‘The effect of planned prospecting near Rayton’ in The Bronberger’s June edition. The company indicated that it wanted to search for general, alluvial and kimberlite indications of diamonds about 1 km from Rayton and 10 km from Cullinan. The proposed prospecting will be conducted over five years in an area larger than 300 hectares, and will include on-site contractors’ camps.

At the public consultation meeting at Casa-lee Country Lodge, Randquip gave more background on the project and did a technical presentation on diamond prospecting. Kimopax did a presentation on the prospecting application process and said that all prospecting reports will be made available to public.

Kimopax has been appointed to do the prospecting application, public consultation process and environmental impact assessment and to submit the relevant documentation to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) for a decision about the project.

A typical prospecting drill site
Photo: Kimopax

Residents were surprised to hear that Randquip also want to prospect for copper and asked about the scientific proof of feasibility, seeing that copper has never been mined in the area before.

Residents voiced a number of other concerns about the project. They fear that the water table might be affected. Farms in the area rely on ground water and they wanted to know if a water-use licence has been approved.

According to Randquip the prospecting activities will not trigger the need for a water-use license and no such licence application has been made.

Spokespeople for the company said that residents should not confuse a mining right and a prospecting right. Randquip applied for a prospecting right. The application was submitted in 2014 and under that application only an Environmental Management Programme (EMP) had to be compiled for consideration by the DMR during their decision making. A detailed environmental impact assessment study is normally undertaken when you are applying for a mining right.

Residents said that the prospecting area falls within a registered conservancy, which forms a green belt in an area earmarked for ecological tourism, not economic exploitation. Joan-Louise du Toit from the Cullinan Conservancy said that there is no such thing as ecologically friendly mining.

There is a growing number of hospitality and specialised recreation farms in the area, catering for people who want peace and quiet in a rural environment where they can get away from city noise.

Residents said that the sense of place in this rural area will be lost with noise, dust and increased traffic.

The rest of the area is zoned for agriculture, featuring two dairy farms close to the proposed site, and residents feel that mining will result in a loss of grazing and agricultural soil and will negatively impact the resale value of properties in the area.

Residents are also concerned that an increase in labourers in the area will result in an increase in crime, from serious crime to petty crimes such as littering, trespassing, harvesting of firewood, poaching and snares.