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CLEARING THE AIR | Volume 2 - 1 of 8



Major changes to South Africa’s Environmental Legal Regime stemming from the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act


NEMAA CHANGES


Last but certainly not least, it is significant to note that sections 85 of NEMLA4 will result in amendments to the transitional provisions under the National Environmental Management Amendment Act 62 of 2008 (NEMAA).


In terms of section 85 of NEMLA4, section 12 of the NEMAA is substituted.


This section relates to the transitional provisions applicable in circumstances where prior to 8 December 2014–

· an environmental authorisation or waste management licence had been obtained for activities directly related to the prospecting or exploration of a mineral or petroleum resource; or extraction and primary processing of a mineral or petroleum resource; and

· a right, permit or exemption in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002) (MPRDA) had been obtained for prospecting or exploration of a mineral or petroleum resource; or extraction and primary processing of a mineral or petroleum resource.

In such circumstances, where the activities authorised in such environmental authorisations, waste management licences, rights, permits or exemptions commenced after 8 December 2014, such environmental authorisations, waste management licences, rights, permits or exemptions are regarded as having fulfilled with the requirements of the NEMA.


Furthermore, the Minister responsible for mineral resources may direct the holder of a right, permit or any old order right, to take any action to upgrade the environmental management plan or environmental management programme to address the deficiencies in the plan or programme, if he or she is of the opinion that the prospecting, mining, exploration and production operations are likely to result in unacceptable pollution, ecological degradation or damage to the environment. Hereafter, the Minister responsible for mineral resources must issue an environmental authorisation if he or she is satisfied that the deficiencies in the environmental management plan or environmental management programme have been addressed and that the requirements contained in Chapter 5 of the NEMA, have been met.


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