Environmental authorisations and mining organisations
Wessels, Johannes Albertus
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Mining is essential to the human well-being in many aspects. Mining activities, however, contribute significantly to pollution and other environmental impacts in South Africa. Recently much more stringent environmental legislation has been developed in South Africa due to increased public awareness and environmental disasters caused by mining activities. Authorisations constitute one of the main "command and control" instruments that can be used to influence and direct the behaviour of individuals and organisations to achieve sound environmental protection ultimately. The problem is that in the ever-changing maze of South African environmental legislation, it is often difficult for individuals and organisations to identify, obtain and maintain environmental authorisations. This article provides a legislative framework for the mining sector, explores the purpose and importance of environmental authorisations, gives an overview of the underlying relationship between environmental authorisations, risk assessment and environmental management systems before proposing a generic procedure for identifying, obtaining and maintaining environmental authorisations.