Xstrata Alloys was challenging its inclusion on a list of five mines that the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs had taken action against for operating without a water use licence, the company said last week.
Chris Tsatsawane, the communications manager at Xstrata Alloys, the biggest ferrochrome producer globally, said the Onverdacht mine in Mpumalanga was granted a water use licence in 2009.
Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, told journalists in Parliament last month that the department was taking legal action against four mines, namely Leliefontein and Mashala-Delta, both in Gauteng, the Imbabala coal mine in Mpumalanga where a pre-directive was issued by the Department of Mineral Resources, and Xstrata’s Onverdacht mine in Mpumalanga.
Mabudafhasi said during a “random” audit of 86 mines, six mines had been found to be operating without water use licences, and the department had taken action against five of these.
Tsatsawane said the Onverdacht colliery produced coal that was not exported, but used in the alloy unit at Xstrata’s smelters in Mpumalanga and the North West.
Tsatsawane also said that the mine was operating at less than 40% of capacity due to maintenance, but the mine would soon return to full operation.
“We have not yet been formally informed by Water Affairs of the legal action. We will wait until the department comes to us with the legal documentation,” he said.