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Licences and authorisations required for operation

Licence Activity Applicable Legislation
Atmospheric Emission Licence Gas combustion (including gas turbines burning natural gas) used primarily for steam raising or electricity generation.1 List of activities which result in atmospheric emissions which have or may have a significant detrimental effect on the environment2 and accordingly require an Atmospheric Emission Licence before commencement (GN 893): Category 1, Sub-category 1.4.
Atmospheric Emission Licence Combustion installations co-feeding waste with conventional fuels in processes used primarily for steam raising or electricity generation.3 GN 893: Category 1, Sub-category 1.6.
Atmospheric Emission Licence Activities applicable to the metallurgical industry which require an Atmospheric Emission Licence include:
  1. drying and calcining of mineral solids including ore;
  2. combustion installations;
  3. primary aluminium production;
  4. secondary aluminium production and alloying through the application of heat (excluding heat recovery);
  5. sinter plants for agglomeration of fine ores using a heating process, including sinter cooling where applicable;
  6. basic oxygen furnaces in the steel making industry;
  7. electric arc furnaces (primary and secondary) in the steel making industry;
  8. blast furnace operations;
  9. production of alloys of iron with chromium, manganese, silicon or vanadium, the separation of titanium slag from iron-containing minerals using heat;
  10. production and or casting of iron, iron ores, steel or ferro-alloys, including the cleaning of castings and handling of casting mould materials;
  11. production of pellets or briquettes using presses, inclined discs or rotating drums;
  12. production of re-reduced or metallised ore or pellet using gaseous or solid fuels;
  13. the extraction, processing and use of lead in production by the application of heat and the production of lead-containing electric batteries;
  14. the extraction, processing and production of zinc, nickel or cadmium by the application of heat excluding metal recovery;
  15. the metallurgical production and processing of arsenic, antimony, beryllium, chromium and silicon and their compounds by the application of heat;
  16. processes in which sulphide ores are smelted, roasted calcined or converted (excluding inorganic chemicals-related activities regulated under category 7);
  17. the production or processing of precious and associated base metals through chemical treatment (excluding inorganic chemicals-related activities regulated under category 7);
  18. the processing of vanadium-bearing ore or slag for the production of vanadium oxides or vanadium carbide by the application of heat;
  19. the production and or casting of bronze, brass and copper;
  20. the processing or recovery of metallurgical slag by the application of heat;
  21. the recovery of metal from any form of scrap material by the application of heat;
  22. the coating of steel articles with zinc using molten zinc, including the pickling and/or fluxing of articles before coating; and/or
  23. the coating of metals using molten metal.
GN 893: Category 4, Sub-categories 4.1 – 4.23.
Water Use Licence Taking water from a water resource.4 National Water Act: Section 21(a).
Water Use Licence Storing water.5 National Water Act: Section 21(b).
Water Use Licence Impeding or diverting the flow of water in a watercourse.6 National Water Act: Section 21(c).
Water Use Licence Discharging waste or water containing waste into a water resource through a pipe, canal, sewer, sea outfall or other conduit.7 National Water Act: Section 21(f).
Water Use Licence Disposing waste in a manner which may detrimentally impact on a water resource.8 National Water Act: Section 21(g).
Water Use Licence Disposing in any manner of water which contains waste from, or which has been heated in, any industrial or power generation process.9 National Water Act: Section 21(h).
Water Use Licence Altering the bed, banks, course or characteristics of a watercourse.10 National Water Act: Section 21(i).
Registration as dam with a safety risk The owner of a dam with a safety risk11 must register that dam within 120 days. National Water Act: Section 120 (read with the Dam Regulations).
Waste Management Licence The disposal of general waste to land covering an area of more than 50 square metres but less than 200 square metres and with a total capacity not exceeding 25 000 tons. List of waste management activities that have, or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on the environment12 and accordingly require a waste management licence (GN 921): Category A 3(10) (or Category B 4(8) where the area is in excess of 200 square metres and the total capacity exceeds 25 000 tons).
Waste Management Licence The disposal of any quantity of hazardous waste to land. GN 921: Category B 4(7).
Waste Management Licence The construction of a facility for a waste management activity listed in Category A. GN 921: Category A 3(12) (or Category B 4(10) where the waste management activity is listed in Category B).
No licence, only compliance with Norms and Standards for Storage of Waste, 2013 The storage of general waste at a facility that has the capacity to store in excess of 100 cubic metres of general waste at any one time, excluding the storage of waste in lagoons or temporary13 storage of such waste. GN 921: Category C 5(1) (or Category C 5(2) where hazardous waste is stored at a facility that has a capacity to store in excess of 80 cubic metres).
Environmental Authorisation The development of facilities or infrastructure for the generation of electricity14 from a renewable resource where the electricity output is more than 10 megawatts but less than 20 megawatts or the output is 10 megawatts or less but the total extent of the facility covers an area in excess of 1 hectares. Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, Listing Notice 115 (Listing Notice 1): Activity 1 (or Listing Notice 2: Activity 1, where the output is 20 megawatts or more).
Environmental Authorisation Development and related operation of facilities or infrastructure for the generation of electricity from non-renewable resources16 where the electricity output is more than 10 megawatts but less than 20 megawatts or the output is 10 megawatts or less but the total extent of the facility covers an area in excess of 1 hectares. Listing Notice 1: Activity 2 (or Listing Notice 2: Activity 2 where the electricity output is 20 megawatts or more).
Environmental Authorisation The development of infrastructure exceeding 1000 metres in length for the bulk transportation of water17 or storm water with an internal diameter of 0.36 metres or more, or with a peak throughput of 120 litres per second or more, excluding where such infrastructure is for bulk transportation of water or storm water or storm water drainage inside a road reserve, or where such development will occur within an urban area. Listing Notice 1: Activity 9.
Environmental Authorisation The development and related operation of infrastructure exceeding 1000 metres in length for the bulk transportation of sewage, effluent, process water, waste water,18 return water, industrial discharge or slimes – (i) with an internal diameter of 0,36 metres or more; or with a peak throughput of 120 litres per second or more. Listing Notice 1: Activity 10.
Environmental Authorisation The development of facilities or infrastructure for the off-stream storage19 of water, including dams and reservoirs, with a combined capacity of 50 000 cubic metres or more, unless such storage falls within the ambit of activity 16 of Listing Notice 2. Listing Notice 1: Activity 13.
Environmental Authorisation The development of facilities or infrastructure for the storage, or for the storage and handling, of a dangerous good, where such storage occurs in containers with a combined capacity of 80 but not exceeding 500 cubic metres.20 Listing Notice 1: Activity 14 (or Listing Notice 2: Activity 4 where the capacity exceeds 500 cubic metres).
Environmental Authorisation The development and related operation of facilities or infrastructure for the treatment of effluent, wastewater or sewage with a daily throughput capacity of more than 2 000 cubic metres but less than 15 000 cubic metres.21 Listing Notice 1: Activity 25 (or Listing Notice 2: Activity 25, where the capacity exceeds 15 000 cubic metres).
Environmental Authorisation The development of facilities or infrastructure for any process or activity which requires a permit or licence in terms of national or provincial legislation governing the generation or release of emissions, pollution or effluent, excluding activities which are identified in Listing Notice 1, activities which are included in the list of waste management activities published in terms of section 19 of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (in which case that Act will apply), or facilities with a daily throughput capacity of less than 2000 cubic metres. Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, Listing Notice 222 (Listing Notice 2): Activity 6.
Environmental Authorisation The clearance of an area of 300 square metres or more of indigenous vegetation except where such clearance of indigenous vegetation is required for maintenance purposes undertaken in accordance with a maintenance management plan.23 Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations Listing Notice 324 (Listing Notice 3): Activity 12.
Heritage Approval For large-scale developments of the following categories, the heritage resources authority in the applicable area must be notified (and having been notified will assess whether heritage approval is required):25
  1. the construction of a road, wall, powerline, pipeline, canal or other similar form of linear development or barrier exceeding 300 metres in length;
  2. the construction of a bridge or similar structure exceeding 50 metres in length;
  3. any development or other activity which will change the character of a site –
    1. exceeding 5 000 square metres in extent; or
    2. involving three or more existing erven or subdivisions thereof; or
    3. involving three or more erven or divisions thereof which have been consolidated within the past five years; or
    4. the costs of which will exceed a sum set in terms of regulations by SAHRA or a provincial heritage resources authority;
  4. the re-zoning of a site exceeding 10 000 square metres in extent; or
  5. any other category of development provided for in regulations by South African Heritage Resources Authority or a provincial heritage resources authority.
National Heritage Resources Act: Section 38.

 

  1. Some companies, like ArcelorMittal, have expressed interest in making use of compressed natural gas power plants to generate electricity, thereby reducing electricity costs (see: http://www.iol.co.za/business/news/arcelormittal-plans-to-make-its-own-energy-1.1610696#.VBFyunnlqP8). If this option is adopted, an Atmospheric Emission Licence may be required.
  2. Published under Government Notice 893 in Government Gazette 37054 of 22 November 2013.
  3. Similarly, there is interest in establishing co-generation plants.
  4. If water is not supplied by the municipality and is not authorised in terms of a general authorisation, a Water Use Licence may be required.
  5. Water stored in holding ponds may require a Water Use Licence.
  6. If any of the company’s activities impede or divert the flow of water in a watercourse, a Water Use Licence may be required.
  7. Many companies within this sector discharge waste water containing oil, suspended solids or heavy metals.
  8. Unsealed holding ponds and leaching of rain water through solid waste in this sector often results in underground water contamination.
  9. The processes in this sector largely involve the heating of process water at high temperatures and the discharging thereof.
  10. If the characteristic of a river are altered by the milling or agricultural activities undertaken by the company, a Water Use Licence may be required.
  11. A “dam with a safety risk” is defined in the National Water Act as “a dam which can contain, store or dam more than 50 000 cubic metres of water, whether that water contains any substance or not, and which has a wall of a vertical height of more than 5 metres, measured as the vertical difference between the lowest downstream ground elevation on the outside of the dam wall and the non-overspill crest level or the general top level of the dam wall”, or is declared a dam with a safety risk under the National Water Act.
  12. Published under Government Notice 921 in Government Gazette 37083 of 29 November 2013.
  13. “Temporary storage” is defined in GN 921 as “once off storage that does not exceed 90 days”.
  14. If the company generates its own electricity from a renewable resource it may require Environmental Authorisation.
  15. GN 983, published in Government Gazette 38282 of 4 December 2014.
  16. If the company generates its own electricity from non-renewable resources it may need to obtain Environmental Authorisation.
  17. If facilities are constructed to transport water to site and they meet the thresholds prescribed, Environmental Authorisation is required.
  18. If wastewater is generated by the company and they construct facilities to transport such wastewater, this activity may be triggered.
  19. If water is drawn from water resources and stored on site, Environmental Authorisation is required for the construction of such a water storage facility or infrastructure.
  20. If harmful chemicals are used during operations, the construction of facilities for their storage may require Environmental Authorisation.
  21. Most companies in this sector generate large quantities of waste water and would be required to treat it before discharging such water.
  22. Government Notice R 984 published in Government Gazette 38282 of 4 December 2014.
  23. Applicable if indigenous vegetation is removed for the construction of the facility.
  24. Published under Government Notice R 985 in Government Gazette 38282 of 4 December 2014.
  25. Heritage approval is not required if heritage impacts are assessed as part of an environmental impact assessment process for Environmental Authorisation, provided that comments received from the heritage authority are incorporated into the final report (as per section 38(10) of National Heritage Resources Act).