Damned if you do…

Finweek English Edition - - Letters -

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?

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