The damage to the environment due to the release of waste has been one of the major negative impacts associated with mining. However, mining accounts for much of the economic development of South Africa and hence, steps are constantly being taken to expand mining projects while also overcoming the challenges that come with it.
In such a scenario, organizations like Atha Africa Ventures are working towards sustaining the environmental balance by taking several important steps at a time. A major example of Atha Africa Coal Mining that ensures environmental management too is the Yzermyn underground coal mining. That much of the focus is on protecting the environment is quite understandable from the fact that the company has already invested about R83.5 million towards environmental management that includes the following key activity areas:
• Management of waste products
• Rehabilitation of the existing alien-invaded wetlands
• Setting up water-treatment plants and repairing tarring roads
• Planting more trees and replacing the eroded topsoil
Now, to make each of these ventures successful and get implemented in the real scenario, Atha Group has gathered data from specialist studies conducted by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Department of Water and Sanitation Requirements.
Quite similarly, the bio-diversity assessment was conducted for an alternative discard dump from February, 2014 and it was submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources. Alongside, an additional wetland assessment was also conducted for a chosen surface infrastructure area in June 2014 and this was submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs. It was after much consultation with the Department of Mineral Resources and a separate study on wetland demarcation that a discard facility was excluded and a wash plant removed.
The above-mentioned initiatives and plans are just a part of the huge venture that Atha Group has taken up in order to ensure that mining has least negative impact on the environment. Simultaneously, steps are also taken to ensure that mining gradually emerges to be the most important activity in South Africa. This particular project, therefore, also incorporates plans for creating job opportunities and Black Economic Empowerment.