Press Statement (10 January 2014)
It has been alleged that damage to houses in Kagiso Extension 1 in the Krugersdorp area west of Johannesburg, is a result of the mining operations of Mintails Ltd, which has conducted hard rock gold mining in the area for the past 14 months.
Concerns of this nature were first raised by the community shortly after a devastating hailstorm had lashed the area on 28 November 2013. Mintails immediately engaged with the community leaders Mogale City representatives and Ward Councillors for the region. The mining company provided Ward Councillors with complaint forms which need to be completed in order for Mintails to process their claims.
Unfortunately, the situation has escalated, with mining operations having been disrupted by the community and the Mogale City municipality under pressure to take court action to halt the mining operations. Following talks between the Minister of Mineral Resources and the Mogale City Executive Mayor on 8 January 2014, the court action was suspended.
Mintails is a responsible compliant miner and will not shirk its duties nor responsibilities. By law, all mining operations must be undertaken further than 100m from any permanent structure. We fully comply with this requirement and have had a number of inspections conducted independently by the Department of Mineral Resources in this regard.
In addition, Mintails is committed to making good any damage to those homes and properties in the vicinity which have been impaired as a result of its mining operations. It is important, however, to establish the true cause of the damage, be it from an act of nature, a pre-existing condition or from the mining itself. To this end, we propose that an independent assessor be engaged to determine the cause of the damage, from which we will be able to plot the way forward. We fully support the proposed appointment by the DMR of independent technical experts to evaluate our blasting activities and to ascertain whether the structural integrity of the houses has been undermined and we will cooperate fully with any investigation.
It is important to provide some context to Mintails’ operations and the community. Of the 800 workers employed by the company, 20% of them come from the Kagiso area, with the remainder residing in the dozens of other local communities in proximity to our operations. In addition, despite being loss-making – the bottom line loss for the year to 30 June 2013 was a loss of AU$16.8m (R151.9m) – Mintails invested R1.5m in the community during the financial year.
Some of the projects undertaken include the Mintails / Mogale City Local Municipality Food Garden Project in the Kagiso community which covers some 2 hectares of land and which will support beneficiaries of the project on sustainable micro farming and production of food to local communities. In addition, a safe play area was established for the young children of Tudor Community. As well as time, staff contributed donations, clothing and non-perishable foods to the community.
A criticism has also been levelled against the company that it has failed to engage with the community. As a relatively new mine – open cast operations began in June 2012 when the mining rights were acquired – Mintails has only a short history in the region. It has conducted consultations with all affected communities, including Kagiso, the details of which are reported as required to the responsible authorities at the DMR and have been provided to the local authority as well. Additionally, the company has established the Environmental Management Forum which provides for communities and other interest and affected parties impacted by Mintails’ mining operations to provide feedback to Mintails as well as providing for engagement on community support projects and environmental matters. Although in its infancy, the EMF met four times last year and is scheduled to meet six to eight times this year.
A meeting between the various stakeholders will take place at Kagisanong Hall in Mogale City at 10h00 on Friday 10 January. Mintails looks forward to constructive, productive engagement with the Mogale City municipality, the Department of Mineral Resources and the community.
Mintails will make a further statement once more information becomes available.