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South Africa: Report raises concerns around environmental breaches by mining companies

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22 July 2011

Assmang gets nod for trying to comply

Author: Business Report

Manganese producer Assmang yesterday showed off a R400 million capital spending programme, which will help to bring its Cato Ridge works in compliance with environmental laws, during a site inspection by Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs...An environmental inspector on site confirmed that the Green Scorpions had identified dust problems at this plant during a 2007 visit to the Cato Ridge works, and that it still did not comply with regulations...Rico Euripidou, a researcher at environmental NGO groundWork, said there was no doubt that Assmang had made “huge improvements” at the Cato Ridge works since the 2007 inspection...Mabudafhasi told Assmang chief executive Jan Steenkamp that his company had been “the worst in the country” following the 2007 inspection, which found several transgressions relating to air pollution and waste disposal, among other things. But she was pleased the company had not erected a “concrete wall and become aggressive” after being issued with compliance notices.“Though you are not yet 100 percent, you are aiming there,” she said. Steenkamp said there were “a significant number of challenges” ahead at Cato Ridge. He said Assmang was funding a research project to evaluate whether it should update its aging technology: “Do we carry on maintaining and complying, or do we take the next quantum leap?”

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5 October 2007

Green Scorpions raise red flag on habitual polluters [So. Africa]

Author: Ingi Salgado, Business Report [So. Africa]

The state's environmental management inspectorate has named [ArcelorMittal South Africa, Highveld Steel and Vanadium (part of Anglo American), Assmang]...as serious transgressors of environmental laws and permits, all three of which are ISO14001 certified...Spokesperson Mava Scott said: "Many of the operating companies are extremely profitable multinationals who have access to all the information and resources they require to come into compliance with environmental legislation. It appears that they have chosen to disregard their obligations."...Highveld [Steel and Vanadium]...would not comment.

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