by Digby Wells

Law

Implications of Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Act

Implications of Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Act
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Very surprisingly, the commencement of the First Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act Amendment, 2008 has been proclaimed and took effect on 7 June. There is no transitional period and all amendments take immediate effect.

The commencement of this act also triggers the transitional period with the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), which will ultimately align environmental authorisations between the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Mineral Resources.

Some points to consider:

  • The amendment of the definition of 'residue deposit' is to include residue stockpiles remaining at the termination of an old order right (this has obvious and severe implications for the dump retreatment industry, where a company has chosen to exercise its common law rights);
  • There is now a requirement to give the landowner and/or lawful occupier 21 days’ written notice of commencement of all operations;
  • Section 11 has been amended to include reference to disposal of any interest in a close corporation or unlisted company, even if it is not a controlling interest;
  • Applicants for a prospecting right or mining right are now required to submit a simultaneous application for an environmental authorisation;
  • The minister has the right to impose conditions as are necessary to promote the rights and interests of the community on the land, including participation of the community;
  • The amendment of the environmental sections to provide for an environmental authorisations is to be issued in terms of NEMA, provided that the minister of mineral resources is the responsible authority for implementing the environmental provisions;
  • Section 43 has been broadened to include a previous holder of an old order right, including the pumping and treatment of extraneous water and the obligation of the previous holder of an old order right to obtain closure; and
  • The operation of Section 102 has been reduced by providing that no amendment shall be granted in terms of section 102 if it relates to an extension of an area or portion of an area, unless the omission of the area was as a result of an administrative error – the implication being that rather than extending an area, a new mining right will be required.

Bear in mind that this Amending Act is a precursor to the Second Amendment, which has recently been tabled in Parliament.

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