Damned if you do…
THE REPORT IN YOUR GreenBook (16 October) about the battle between the GaMawela community and Anglo Platinum over the Richmond Dam, as well as your coverage of the sale of Booysendal by Mvela, refers. I’ve read the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Richmond Dam and a number of questions come to mind.
Angloplat took a major risk by ceding its water rights in the Lebalelo scheme to Booysendal at the time of the sale of the property to Mvela, particularly at a time when the De Hoop Dam on the Steelpoort River was delayed by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) for further investigation.
Angloplat took comfort that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) agreed in principle in 2005/2006 with Angloplat that it could build the Richmond Dam. It’s clear the DWAF consented (by omission or commission) to the cession of Lebalelo scheme water rights from Der Brochen to the Booysendal project to facilitate the sale of Booysendal to Mvela.
A fact? Yes: you can read all about it in the Richmond Dam EIA.
Booysendal was “empowered” at the potential cost of a community that now stands to be further impoverished by losing its most valuable land for the Richmond Dam. The GaMawela community has promised to fight Angloplat on the proposed dam.
But there’s another interesting twist to the story. The Richmond EIA states that – if the dam isn’t approved by DWAF – Angloplat could lose its mining rights to Der Brochen in terms of Section 25 of the MPRDA.
The question is: Will Angloplat have to put Der Brochen up for sale to Impala Platinum if it can’t obtain sufficient water for the project? Implats controls the existing Inyoni Dam – just below the site of the planned Richmond Dam – and therefore could use the Inyoni Dam for the Der Brochen project.
At this point Implats is refusing Angloplat permission to raise the wall of the Inyoni Dam as an alternative to the Richmond Dam. And the supply of water from the De Hoop Dam, which will come on stream in 2011, will be oversubscribed within a decade. It looks like there’s going to be an interesting game ahead.
The question also arises: When will Angloplat inform its shareholders that one of its prestige projects is at risk?