CapeNature is of the opinion that neither the proposed mine nor the proposed brick factory should be authorised!
The proposed mining area and brick factory is located in an area determined as Critical Biodiversity Area (CBA). The site has been determined as a CBA for several reasons. These include the meeting of conservation targets and the site being part of an important ecological corridor that contributes towards an upland-lowland link between the Breede River and the Langeberg Mountains. Upland-lowland links are important for current species migration (plant and animal) and will be important in light of future climate change. The property on which the proposed mining site is located has been identified as one of the top priority properties for conservation by the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme (SKEP) (Central Breede River Valley), Lesley Hill Succulent Karoo Trust (LHSKT), and the National Protected Area Expansion Strategy (NPAES).
The National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) states that “It is crucial to avoid loss and degradation of natural habitat in critical biodiversity areas”. CBAs represent the best available science and for that reason need to be considered in decision-making. CBA maps which are a product of systematic biodiversity planning are supported not only by CapeNature but also by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and have been produced as Biodiversity Sector Plans1 which also outline the implications of CBAs for development. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning also strongly supports the use of Critical Biodiversity Area maps as a key informant for decision-making.
Brick factories produce high levels of dust and other air pollutants which will be detrimental not only to farming practices but also to ecological infrastructure. Dust and other contaminants may settle in rivers and wetlands over an area some distance from the factory. The location and associated impacts of the proposed factory is in direct opposition to the objectives of Critical Biodiversity Areas which the Rooiberg conservancy is trying to support by aiming to provide sufficient protection of biodiversity and the ecosystem services which are vital for healthy, sustainable agricultural practices.
CapeNatures objection to the mining application is still applicable and we object to the proposed brick factory as well. CapeNature is of the opinion that neither the proposed mine nor the proposed brick factory should be authorised.