Increasing applications for prospecting and mining rights in and around Hartbeespoort and Brits have surfaced and many fall within the Magaliesberg Biosphere protected area.
Currently, Kormorant is aware of seven recent applications in these areas.
In Hartbeespoort BIOMED Projects and Supplies (Pty) Ltd Consultants applied for prospecting rights on over 3 000 hectares of land in the Hartbeespoort and surrounding areas. The areas earmarked for prospecting are portions of the farms De Rust and Hartbeesfontein, including large areas of the Magaliesberg Biosphere, even a part of the Hartbeespoort Dam. Areas affected in this application are amongst others Kosmos Ridge, Kommandonek up to Leopard Lodge, as well as a large area north of the R513 behind Seasons Leisure Gold Spa up to the N4.
A large part of the activities is to take place in the Magaliesburg Biosphere protected area.
In the De Wildt area, Tshime Holdings (Pty) Ltd has submitted an application for prospecting rights on 190 hectares on Silkaatsnek, north of the R513, in order to prospect for chrome and platinum. Yet another company, Strata Innovations, applied for a mining permit on the same property at the same time. A third on Silkaatsnek by Modsion Mining proposes prospecting for chrome and aggregate ore on two portions of land.
Currently, an estate on Silkaatsnek is fighting approval of prospecting rights on the estate.
The De Wildt community is also fighting permission for prospecting rights on large areas in the Schietfontein area.
Now yet another application for prospecting rights in the Schurveberg and Hennops River area, south of Hartbeespoort has surfaced. This area stretches loosely from close to Necsa to Centurion and includes 29 portions of land.
The application notices in all these cases were published in either national or regional papers, and in a number of cases, residents were not aware of them.
Many of these applications are in the Magaliesberg Biosphere protected area. According to Belinda Cooper, coordinator of the Magaliesberg Biosphere, they are currently assisting with a lot of prospecting and mining applications in the entire biosphere. “The Magaliesberg Biosphere registers as an interested and affected party in all the applications that come across our desk. We had a meeting with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in 2019 about applications in the Magaliesberg protected area. We were told that the department did not have the capacity or system to check where the applications were. They said they will address the issue with environmental impact assessment companies to check whether properties are situated in the Magaliesberg Biosphere,” Cooper said.
Only the biosphere core is protected by law, there are no laws protecting the buffer and transitional zones.
“Unfair as it is, it is now up to residents to be the watchdog. The responsibility falls upon them to be aware of applications and mistakes therein.”
Residents in areas affected by applications for prospecting and mining applications are urged to respond and register as interested and affected parties.