South Africa: Minister of Environmental Affairs Publishes an Amendment to the Financial Provisioning Regulations pertaining to Mining in Terms of Environmental Legislation

The amendment regulations have been published in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Act No. 107 of 1998) 

PRETORIA, South Africa, April 23, 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-  The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, has published an amendment to the Financial Provisioning Regulations for the prospecting, exploration, mining or production operations in Government Gazette No. 41584 (Notice 452) for implementation. The amendment regulations have been published in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Act No. 107 of 1998).

In November 2015, in line with the “One Environmental System”, under which all environmental matters pertaining to mining are to be regulated in terms of the environmental legislation, Dr Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, published the Financial Provisioning Regulations under the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (NEMA). These Regulations regulate the arrangements related to making financial provision for costs associated with the remediation and rehabilitation of impacts to the environment associated with mining activities. As a result of continued discussion with stakeholders, the Minister published proposed amendments to the Regulations on 10 November 2017, which included an extension of time to the oil and gas industry to comply with the Regulations for public comment. The Minister has now gazetted this extension for implementation, which will allow the holders of existing offshore exploration and production right holders, who applied for such rights prior to 20 November 2015, regardless when the right was obtained, a time extension until February 2024 to comply with the NEMA Financial Provision Regulations.

The extension is necessary as the activities of the sector are both capital and risk-intensive and the industry will require more time to make the necessary adjustments to their current financial provisioning arrangements. This extension has the effect that the financial provisioning arrangements for the offshore oil and gas industry with rights applied for under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Act prior to 20 November 2015, will continue to be managed under the existing financial provision arrangements, made under that Act, until February 2024.

The rest of the comments received on the proposed amendments to the Regulations that were published in November 2017 are still under consideration. Further amendments to the current Financial Provision Regulations to deal with other matters of implementation raised by the industry, as well as other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, may need to be published for another round of consultation in the near future. Until further amendments are effected, the 2015 NEMA Financial Provisioning Regulations are in place and regulate the mining industry.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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