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Corobrik’s clay-mining operation adjacent to Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Q: What is Corobrik’s involvement at Rietvlei?

A: Since 1983 Corobrik, the leading brick manufacturer, has operated an open-cast clay mine adjacent to the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Gauteng.

Q: What is the environmental importance of the Rietvlei Nature Reserve and Corobrik’s commitment to it?

A: The reserve is considered ecologically significant. It is home to diverse wildlife, including rhino, buffalo, cheetah, and various bird species. Corobrik is committed to environmental responsibility and compliance with all regulations in this regard.

Q: What was the initial notice of intent issued by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE)?

A: The DMRE issued a notice of intent in terms of Section 31L of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (NEMA) in March 2023 after an inspection of the mine. It issued a notice to Corobrik to apply for Environmental Authorisation in terms of Section 24 of NEMA April 2023. The Section 102 application was confirmed in May 2023. A notice for an increase in the Financial Provision was issued in June 2023 and the Environmental Authorisation application was acknowledged in July 2023.

Q: When did the DMRE grant Environmental Authorisation?

A: The DMRE granted Environmental Authorisation necessary for the amendment of the existing Mining Right under Section 102 of the Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2008 (MPRDA) to include coal in February 2024. The authorisation fulfils the necessary requirements to ensure compliance before extraction of the coal can commence. The interested and affected parties were notified that an Environmental Authorised had been granted on 16 February 2024.

Q: What is Corobrik’s existing Mining Right at Rietvlei Nature Reserve?

A: Corobrik has an existing Mining Right and mines clay and shale from three separate quarries within the Rietvlei Mining Right. In accordance with the MPRDA, a Section 102 amendment to this Right to include coal was applied for in June 2022. Environmental Authorisation was granted by the DMRE in February 2024.

Corobrik is, and remains committed to, being compliant with the current regulations in accordance with its granted Mining Right. This includes ongoing water and dust monitoring and alien vegetation eradication.

Q: How has the Water Use Application been revised?

A: The Water Use Application (WULA), Stage 3, has been revised to include the necessary controls and measures to include the mining of coal, and is proceeding accordingly.

Q: How have any environmental concerns been addressed?

A: A Public Participation Meeting to address all stakeholder concerns was held on Friday 8 September 2023 at the Pretoria Yacht Club, Rietvlei Dam. Some of the concerns raised by various groups represented at the meeting included the following:

  1. The effect on the Rietvlei Dam and surrounding Nature Reserve,

  2. The impact on the underground water supply and aquifer, and

  3. What measures are in place to safeguard the water flowing in the Rietspruit.

  4. Increase in traffic volumes.

Q: What about the issue of Acid Mine drainage (AMD)?

A: Acid mine drainage occurs in the presence a sulphur source, which generally comes from pyrite. There is a lot of pyrite in gold mines, resulting in significant AMD in gold mining. There are two forms of testing to monitor AMD:

  1. One method is on surface water that flows, collected in dams on the property, including the retaining and retention dams. That water is tested once every quarter for contaminants.

  2. The other water that Corobrik has to conduct testing on is from boreholes. Four test boreholes are drilled into the dolomite around the clay quarry. Water samples are taken once every quarter to ensure that there is no seepage. This practice has been ongoing for the past 40 years.

Q: What are the benefits of removing coal from the site?

A: By removing coal from the site, the water quality improves, as it eliminates a significant source of sulphur contamination. This approach ensures cleaner water suitable for various purposes, including dust suppression and irrigation.


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