Lafarge officials Patrick Ndlwana (left) and Felix Motsiri point to the infrastructure that must be removed before the rehabilitation of the site can begin.
GEORGE NEWS - Felix Motsiri, the national minerals and sustainability manager for Lafarge, has confirmed that the company has applied to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) for an application for a closure certificate of the Witfontein Quarry at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains.
Lafarge, the mining right holder for the quarry, has been mining/quarrying on the property for construction aggregate for many years.
Motsiri said, "Unfortunately, the quarry ran out of reserves in the middle of last year. Lafarge tried to apply for an extension of the quarry site across the Malgas River about five years ago, but this application was rejected by the DMR. At the beginning of 2014 Lafarge took a decision to reapply for a licence but this was put on hold pending an internal market survey that revealed that the market in the Southern Cape does not warrant the continuation of the operation."
Lafarge is in consultation with the DMR regarding the procedure that must be followed with regards to the closure of the quarry in terms of Section 43 of the Minerals and Petroleum Resource Development Act. Site Plan Environmental Consultant has been appointed to assist with a detailed rehabilitation plan, final performance assessment as well as the monitoring operation.
Motsiri and Patrick Ndlwana, the area manager for the region, visited George on Thursday to supervise the dismantling of unwanted machinery, the
demolition of redundant infrastructure as well as disposing of the stockpiles of aggregate material still on site.
Motsiri said, "Lafarge is busy with the final 'Quarry Design' that will feed into the rehabilitation process. The original Environmental Management Programme Report issued when the licence was first granted, proposed that upon closure the quarry pit will be used as a water storage facility to serve the George area."
Lafarge anticipates that once the paperwork has been lodged with the DMR and accepted, the actual rehabilitation of the site will commence at the latest in the first quarter of 2016.
Jakobus Vaas, the environmental management inspector (Green Scorpions) with the National Department of Environmental Affairs, said, "We will be keeping a watching brief on the procedure."
The quarry does not fall under the jurisdiction of the George Municipality as it is located on state land.
ARTICLE: MYRON RABINOWITZ, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST
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