Mining in Chrissiesmeer wetland and state custodianship
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A mining right was granted in 2006 to Black Gold Coal Estates (Pty) Ltd by the then Department of Minerals and Energy to conduct open cast coal mining activities in the middle of the ecologically sensitive Chrissiesmeer wetland in Mpumalanga. Notwithstanding vehement and continuous opposition by affected parties, information of inevitable pollution and destruction of a part of the wetland, the MEC of the Mpumalanga Provincial Government supported the mining by approving environmental authorisations. As the National Water Act 36 of 1998 and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 appointed the state as custodian of water and mineral resources in South Africa, the question arose if and how state organs should have complied with their fiduciary duty as state custodian in promoting conservation and protecting biodiversity. After analysing the guidelines contained in legislation and case law, the study concluded that the executives disregarded their duty as state custodian and failed to apply the prescribed national environmental management principles.
- Law