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Environmental violations pile up on coal site

A mine in Vryheid’s Ward 5, believed to be run by mining mogul, Victor van Rooyen, has received a pre-compliance notice by the Department of Environmental Affairs and was given until Monday last week to sort out 32 non-compliance issues that endanger the community.

Among these, are the lack of public toilet facilities for the workers on site, machinery that is being serviced on site where an oil spill was found seeping into the ground, and the mine’s trenches not being lined properly, resulting in polluted water supply.

The mining mogul began operating in 2013 after signing an agreement with the original owner of the mine, Rieg Verster.

According to Verster, the agreement was that Van Rooyen would mine the coal dump in the Ward 5 area, and pay over a certain percentage of his earnings to Verster until he had paid enough to buy the mine. Van Rooyen is said to have failed to pay the money and as a result, Verster decided to cancel the agreement.

The cancellation of the agreement however, required that he take the matter to court. In the meantime, Van Rooyen was allegedly bagging coal from the mine illegally, despite the agreement being cancelled, and took no heed to the regulations stipulated by the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Verster, who currently holds the mining right for the area and is accountable for activity in the area. He met up with the councillor of Ward 5 and some community representatives to explain the situation.

The ward councillor, Bongumusa Ntombela, said the issue surrounding the mines in his area has stirred up a lot of controversy.

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