The Holpan community near Barkly West has been left frustrated after the Department of Mineral Resources gave the miners that had encroached on their properties the thumbs up and even renewed their mining permits.
THE HOLPAN community near Barkly West has been left frustrated after the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) gave the miners that had encroached on their properties the “thumbs up” and even renewed their mining permits.
The community had laid a complaint with the DMR about safety concerns and the environmental impact of the mining activities in the area.
The community started raising the alarm when the miners, from three different companies, started digging close to their homes and also digging up local graves and the main road.
The community complained that the miners dug up the entrance road to Holpan, while all the dust from the mining activities has taken a negative toll on community members’ health.
They called for inspectors to be dispatched to the site as they accused the mining companies of not adhering to the mining social labour plan as there was no rehabilitation work being done nor any projects implemented to uplift the community.
Instead of an intervention, they said they saw two more companies join in and start digging near their homes, without any agreement having been reached with the community or any permits being produced.
The community expressed further concern after learning that three more mining companies might start digging in Holpan soon.
In response to the community’s complaint, the DMR stated in a letter that the mining operations under way were legitimate and had the necessary environmental authorisation.
The DMR pointed out that inspections were conducted on April 17 and that the results were satisfactory.
“Environmental monitoring is an ongoing process and the office shall continuously monitor the health and safety results of this mining permit and other operations within Holpan. Kindly regard this matter closed and nothing illegal,” read the letter from the DMR.
The frustrated community feels that it has been “shown the middle finger” and has since approached the Office of the Public Protector, calling for intervention.
Meanwhile, a number of community members are concerned about rising health costs and visits to the doctor due to “breathing challenges” being experienced because of the mining dust.
“If the diggings are already on our doorstep with these five current mining companies, where will the new companies dig, because there is hardly enough space left?” a concerned community member asked.
“It is clear that the intention is to remove us from our land.”