Environmental non-compliances reported by affected communities, the media, & NGOs
There are a number of media reports of pollution caused by ARM’s subsidiaries. Assmang in particular has been linked to serious issues such as manganese poisoning of employees.1 An occupational hygienist previously contracted by Assmang said that he had warned Assmang more than ten years previously that it ran the risk of prosecution due to the high levels of toxic dust at the Cato Ridge Smelter.2
In 2009 a survey by consulting engineers Moore Spence Jones revealed significant pollution of underground and surface water by the Cato Ridge operation. Cyanide, mercury and other poisonous heavy metals were discovered. The survey also revealed measurable levels of such poisons in streams or shallow boreholes more than 1km from the factory and indications of other forms of pollution up to 2km away.3
A 2010 thesis considered the environmental impact of Dwarsrivier mine and concluded that, “mining activities at Dwarsrivier mine may be contributing to environmental pollution, particularly to groundwater”.4
In response to a PAIA request submitted by the CER for records indicating the names of mines and industrial facilities in respect of which notices or directives under the National Water Act have been issued, the Department of Water & Sanitation responded with information which indicated that Modikwa Platinum Mine (a joint Amplats and ARM operation) and Two Rivers Platinum Mine (an ARM operation) were issued with notices under the National Water Act on 29 January 2014 and 30 July 2014 respectively. ARM failed to report on the notice issued to Modikwa Platinum Mine in the 2014 annual report. The notice received by Two Rivers Platinum Mine was issued outside of the 2014 reporting period.
- http://www.miningweekly.com/article/lsquoassmang-failed-to-react-immediately-to-warning-about-cato-ridge-furnacersquo-2008-05-02 and http://www.environment.co.za/poisoning-carcinogens-heavy-metals-mining/manganism-manganese-poisoning.html (last accessed on 7 August 2015).
- http://www.miningweekly.com/article/lsquoassmang-failed-to-react-immediately-to-warning-about-cato-ridge-furnacersquo-2008-05-02 (last accessed on 7 August 2015).
- http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-199855828.html (last accessed on 7 August 2015).
- Environmental impacts of chrome mining on the Assmang Chrome Dwarsrivier Mine by Tshengedezi Remember Mmbengwa, Thesis (MTech: Environmental Management) Tshwane University of Technology, 2010, available at: http://encore.tut.ac.za/iii/cpro/DigitalItemViewPage.external;jsessionid=8E9468B60B28C8DEBFE25CDBFA5F4F0B?lang=eng&sp=1000639&sp=T&sp=1&suite=def, at p71.