Skip to Content

Full Disclosure 2016

Non-compliance with environmental laws as reported in the National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Reports

Department of Environmental Affairs Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Action

Prior to its merger with Glencore, Xstrata owned a 79.5% share in both the Wonderkop and the Lion smelters.1 Both of these smelters are currently operated by the Glencore-Merafe Venture.2

Wonderkop smelter
NECER Significant Inspection Findings Further Developments and Status of Enforcement Process
20123 In 2008 an inspection was conducted which found 38 non-compliances with environmental laws and permits. A follow-up to this 2008 inspection was conducted in August 2011. The results of this inspection are reported in the 2011/2012 NECER:
  • Xstrata has submitted applications to legalise the waste management activities which were found to be operated without permits in terms of Section 20 of the ECA;
  • Xstrata has been issued with a water use licence, however, non-compliances to licence conditions were found;
  • Non-compliance to APPA R/C;
  • Failure to comply with general duty of care in respect of waste management on site;
  • Air pollution caused by significant fugitive emissions from the Pelletising Plant and the Metal Recovery Plant; and
  • Exceedances of the limits set out in the APPA R/C.
In relation to an enforcement strategy, the following information was provided:

Based on the findings of the follow-up inspection an enforcement strategy is being developed.

 

20134 The following information was reported in the 2012/2013 report:

A notice of intention to issue a Section 31L NEMA notice and Section 31A ECA & S28(4)NEMA directives, was issued to the facility on 27 November 2012 and representations were received in January 2013.

Meetings were held with the facility on 18 March 2013 during which certain issues pertaining to ground and surface water monitoring, waste removal and the facility’s AEL application were discussed. Further information was requested and was received on 26 March 2013.

Said information is currently being reviewed, upon which the DEA will decide what enforcement action, if any, is required.

20145 The 2014 report repeated the above enforcement action.
20156 The 2015 report states:

In addition to the administrative enforcement activities that are taking place in relation to this facility, the criminal investigation has been finalised and a case docket has been referred to the DPP North West for decision.

20167 The 2016 report states:

On 1 March 2016 representatives from the Glencore-Wonderkop Smelter met with officials from the DEA to discuss the contents of the NECER 2014/15. Subsequent to this meeting and upon further investigation, the DEA identified that the NECER 2014/15 contained information regarding a criminal case against the facility. The DEA subsequently clarified this information with the facility, and wishes to state, that the NECER 2014/15 erroneously referred to a criminal case against the Glencore-Wonderkop Smelter, instead of the criminal case against Glencore Royal Bafokeng.

Notwithstanding the above, the DEA has also issued the facility with a letter, dated 14 March 2016, in which further information was requested to assist the DEA to determine the facility’s current level of compliance. On 31 March 2016 the facility provided the DEA with a response. The DEA is currently in a process of reviewing this response and will thereafter take a decision on the way forward.

Lion smelter
NECER Significant Inspection Findings Further Developments and Status of Enforcement Process
20158 An inspection on the 4th and 5th of November 2014 revealed the following:
  • non-compliances with conditions of the AEL, Environmental Authorisations, WML and Water Use Licence.
  • potential groundwater contamination from the unlined waste storage areas.
  • failure to comply with its general duty of care in respect of waste management and with the requirements for the handling and storage of waste.
20169 The following update is provided in 2016:

After having conducted a site visit on 4 and 5 November 2014, the DEA issued an inspection report to the facility in May 2015. Representations from the facility was [sic] received and reviewed and a decision is being considered in respect of appropriate enforcement action, if required.

  1. Xstrata Annual Report 2012, at p35.
  2. Merafe and Glencore participate in a “pooling and sharing venture” in chrome mining and the beneficiation of chrome ore into ferrochrome. The Glencore-Merafe Chrome Venture operates five ferrochrome smelters, twenty-two ferrochrome furnaces and nine mines (which include the Wonderkop smelter, and the Lion I and II smelters). See Merafe’s 2015 Annual Financial Statements, at p4, available at: http://www.meraferesources.co.za/reports/ir_2015/pdf/afs.pdf (last accessed on 7 November 2016).
  3. National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report 2011/2012, at p41.
  4. National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report 2012/2013, at p40.
  5. National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report 2013/2014, at p46.
  6. National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report 2014/15, at p46.
  7. National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report 2015/2016, at p55.
  8. National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report 2014/15, at p48.
  9. National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report 2015/2016, at p56.