Court challenge to 30-year extension of West Coast diamond mining rights – by John Yeld (Mail & Guardian – August 28, 2023)


Legal action that could profoundly impact the future regulation of mining in South Africa, in particular environmental approvals and public participation, is scheduled to start in the Western Cape High Court this week.

On Tuesday, the first part of an application will be heard challenging the awarding of 30-year extensions to ten diamond mining rights on the West Coast held by the Trans Hex group. The applicants are environmental non-profit organisation Protect the West Coast, two groups of small-scale fishers from Doringbaai and the Olifants River estuary, and two individual fishers from Doringbaai.

They argue they were not informed about or given an opportunity to comment on the lengthy mining rights extensions. They were also ignored when the original rights were awarded between 1994 and 1998.

They argue the environmental management programmes (EMPs) on which the mining rights are based are more than 20-years-old and hopelessly outdated. They contend that new authorisations are required in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and other legislation that came into effect after the original rights were granted.

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