South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs minister, Edna Molewa, has dismissed an appeal against the environmental authorisation amendments granted for Coal of Africa’s Vele colliery in the Limpopo Province.

Coal of Africa (CoAL) was granted amended environmental authorisation in January 2015 in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). Appeals were lodged in April 2015.

In evaluating the grounds of appeal, the Minister considered the fact that the amendment would not pose any additional impacts to those considered in the original environmental authorisation issued in terms of Section 24G of NEMA in 2011.

David Brown, CEO of CoAL says: “We welcome this decision by the minister and remain firmly committed to the co-existence model implemented at Vele colliery, which seeks co-operation between mining, agriculture and heritage land uses.”

“The minister’s decision represents another step towards getting the Vele mine back into production”.

CoAL will continue to progress the Renewal and Amendment Applications in respect of Vele’s Integrated Water Use Licence (IWUL) Application under the South African National Water Act.

Vele colliery was placed under care and maintenance in preparation for the approval and construction of a Plant Modification Project as well as an assessment of forecast global coal prices. The company previously submitted applications to amend and renew Vele’s IWUL and expects these to be granted during H2, CY2015.

Subsequently the company also decided to obtain approval relating to a non-perennial stream diversion. This decision is only anticipated in H2, CY2016. The company will await all regulatory approvals before the final decision to proceed will be placed before the board.

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