Dolomite mine a concern

Management at Lyttelton's dolomite mine has stressed that the mine complies with the rules and regulations of mining and that blasts, pollution and noise are monitored.

The Lyttelton dolomite mine, which mines sand and stone, has dismissed allegations raised by some of the community members in the area that blasts occurring at the mine have resulted in their houses to crack. This comes after the mine urged the community to come forward whenever there were grievances against it.

According to a resident, who has been living in the area for the past 11 years and wants to remain anonymous, the pollution and noise that occurred during the blasts was a serious concern for residents. He said when he drove down Botha Avenue, the wind blew the sand off the back of the trucks and that the mine should do something about keeping the place neat.

“The noise in the evening is unbearable, and it sometimes lasts until the early hours of the morning. My house now has cracks and I suspect this may be due to the blasts. Medically, the pollution has caused a condition for both myself and my daughter, as we now have sinus problems.” Another resident who asked not to be named out of fear of being victimised said the community’s concerns were that they were not kept informed about the duration of the mining procedures.

Rekord contacted the mine’s manager, Mike du Plessis, who urged the community to approach him directly in order to address their concerns. He said the community needed to understand that the mine had been there since 1937 and that since its inception, the mine had been crushing stones only; there were no chemicals involved as some residents believed. He emphasised that blast restrictions, and vibrations were monitored.

“We have consulting companies who are doing the monitoring for us and I must stress that no blasts take place after 15:00 in the afternoon. We also have a geologist to ensure that people are far away from danger and we are fully compliant with the departments of water affairs, mineral and resources, environmental affairs and the National Intelligence Unit, who frequent the premises to conduct monitoring,” said Du Plessis.

He added that trucks were monitored before going out of the yard, and that water sprays were installed at the exit of the mine to ensure that no dust would blow off.

and that the ground was watered continuously. “We are environmentally conscious and we cannot harm our residents. The type of drilling that we conduct will not damage anyone or anything.” He further urged the community to become actively involved in the Environmental Committee Forum, which meets every three months to address issues raised by the community.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place at the mine’s premises on 27 February at 10:00. When contacted for comment, Tshwane’s Blessing Manale said that the Tshwane metro was not the competent authority to issue prospecting or actual mining rights.

“The council was only required to comment on the mining application to the Department of Mineral Resources. Residents were informed through a notice in newspapers and at the entrance of the mine. When it comes to the issue of safety, the only safety measures in relation to mining can be in relation to health precautions, like washing all home produce, especially raw vegetables and closing all windows facing the wind direction of the mine.”

Manale added that those who could prove that any cracking was a result of the mining could claim for compensation from the mining company licensed to operate in the mine.

  AUTHOR
Thokozile Mnguni
Centurion journalist

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