Similar to most jurisdictions with a long history of mining, the South African government and ultimately the citizens are bearing the financial brand and associated problems of past mining activities. It is trite that the mining industry has the ability to potentially translate non-renewable natural resources of a nation into mineral wealth through exploration and exploitation, making a significant contribution towards sustainable economic and social development. Metaphorically comparable to a double-edged sword, the same industry can disruptively impose adverse social and economic impacts while dramatically degrading the environment.
The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of South Africa’s legal framework in addressing rehabilitation and mine closure liability. The dissertation will focus on three key challenges, namely, socio-economic aspects, financial provision as well as cumulative and integrated impacts. Mine-affected communities continue to suffer from the adverse environmental impacts harmful to their health and wellbeing as a result of mining operations. When a mine closes, communities are often left socially and economically devastated due to loss of employment and other socio-economic benefits that mines provided.
The shortcomings and implications of the financial provision requirement for rehabilitation will be assessed as well as the lack of closure strategies to address cumulative and integrated impacts that lead to long lasting negative social, economic and environmental impacts. Overarching, the study intends to contribute to the current discourse on the regulation of rehabilitation and mine closure liability and recommend solutions that can be viable in mitigating the challenges and risks associated with this process in South Africa.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2019.