Search

Environmental Impact Assessment

Transnet (SOC) Limited (hereafter referred to as Transnet) is proposing to expand the existing manganese ore railway line from Hotazel in the Northern Cape to the Port of Ngqura in the Eastern Cape. The growing demand for manganese ore has resulted in the need to expand the capacity of the export corridor to 16 million tons per annum (Mtpa). The proposed expansion includes the following:

  • Extension of several existing rail loops in the Northern and Eastern Cape;
  • The installation of two new rail loops in the Northern Cape; and
  • The construction of a new compilation yard near Hotazel in the Northern Cape.

Before the proposed project may proceed, an amendment process, a basic assessment process and an environmental impact assessment process need to be undertaken in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (Act 107 of 1998), as amended. The National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is the competent authority for the proposed project. ERM Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd (ERM) has been appointed as the Independent Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) to undertake the aforementioned processes. The aim of this document is to provide:

  • Background information about the proposed project;
  • A description of the required environmental authorisation processes;
  • A description of the required public participation processes 

Background

In South Africa the main concentration of manganese mines producing predominantly higher grade ores is in the Kalahari Manganese basin, around Hotazel in the Northern Cape. It is anticipated that the manganese industry will experience strong export demand in the coming years. Given the quality of the manganese ore reserves, South Africa is in a position to benefit from the projected growth in the manganese industry if constraints on the current transport logistics are addressed.  

In 2008 Transnet, in association with the manganese ore mining industry identified the need to increase the capacity of the export corridor to beyond the current capacity of 5.5 Million tons per annum (Mtpa). An environmental authorisation process commenced in this regard and the project was authorised to proceed with construction in 2009. The project proposal on which this authorisation was issued was based on achieving an export capacity of 12 Mtpa. Subsequently Transnet, in conjunction with the manganese mining industry, has identified an export requirement of more than 12 Mtpa for long term growth.

This growth will be primarily driven by increasing global steel manufacturing and a changing steel product mix to produce a greater percentage of higher grade steels, which in turn use higher grades of manganese ore. In addition, global supply of lower grade manganese ore by marginal producers, who are high on the cost curve, cannot profitably sustain the exports of their low grade ore. Based on the increased demand of manganese ore the mining industry has indicated the need for an increased export capacity of 16 Mtpa. As such, changes to the original development proposal necessitate additional environmental authorisation processes.

Please note: The existing authorisation is valid for the area between Kimberley and De Aar and the upgrading of this section may start in 2013.
Proposed Project and Process Description

The proposed expansion of the existing manganese ore export railway line to 16 Mtpa requires three processes and these are summarised below. Amendment process An amendment process is required for proposed changes to loop extensions that were already authorised in 2009 (DEA Ref no. 12/12/20/1240). This includes two loops in the Northern Cape and four in the Eastern Cape (see Figure 1).

The previous authorisation allowed for an extension to these loops. However, these six loop extensions need to be larger than previously anticipated to accommodate the 16 Mtpa capacity. The amendment process will involve the submission of an application to the DEA followed by a report describing the changes to design, the associated impacts and the required public participation and stakeholder engagement processes.
The environmental authorisation for the following loops will require amendment:

  • Northern Cape
  • Burgervilleweg
  • Linde
  • Eastern Cape
  • Rosmead
  • Sheldon
  • Tafelberg
  • Knutsford
  • Verby


Basic Assessment process

A BA process is required for the extension of existing rail loops / installation of new rail loops that were not part of the original authorisation completed in 2009. This includes 10 rail loops in the Northern Cape and five in the Eastern Cape (see Figure 1).

Scoping and EIA process

A Scoping/EIA process is required for the construction of a new compilation yard (see Figure 2) at Mamathwane approximately 22km south of Hotazel in the Northern Cape. This compilation yard will cover an area of 120 ha and will be constructed adjacent to the main line. It will comprise five yard lines which can receive 200 wagon trains each as well as operations buildings and associated infrastructure. The yard will also have a common user facility to cater for small mining operations.
In addition to requiring authorisation under NEMA, the compilation yard will also require a Waste Management Licence(WML) and could possibly require an Atmospheric Emissions License (AEL). The requirement for an AEL will be confirmed when the required technical information is available.

Figure 1: Loop Amendment and Extensions
View Larger image (1.02Mb PDF)

Legislation

The NEMA, as amended, lists activities which require an environmental authorisation before commencement. The proposed extensions to existing rail loops / installation of new loops that were not authorised in 2009 trigger several activities listed in GN R544 and R546 and therefore require a Basic Assessment process (see Box 1).

The proposed construction of the compilation yard triggers activities listed in GNR 544, R545 and R546 and therefore requires an EIA process (see Box 1) and GN 718 of the Waste Management Act (59 of 2008) a Waste Management Licence. These processes are proposed to run concurrently (see Figure 3).

Figure 2: Mamathwane Compilation Yard
View larger image (527Kb PDF)

Figure 3: Process Flow Diagram
View larger image

Possible Issues and Specialist Studies

The project team has identified environmental issues that could arise during the Amendment, Basic Assessment and Scoping/EIA process. These include: 

  • Soil and land disturbance from construction of the loops;
  • Noise and vibration both from construction activities and from subsequent increased train activity;
  • Traffic safety concerns both because of heavy construction vehicles and road crossings;
  • Concerns about dust created during construction;
  • The visual effect of construction on the landscape and the possible effect on the sense of place at each loop;
  • Cultural, heritage or archaeological issues;
  • Economic consequences and employment-related issues; and
  • Ecological issues.

The project team will refine this list after the initial public participation and stakeholder engagement processes. Specialist studies are being undertaken to assess and address the potential issues that have been identified and these include:

  • Cultural heritage, archaeological and palaeontology;
  • Social;
  • Noise and vibration;
  • Air quality; and
  • Ecology.
  • Public Participation and Stakeholder Engagement Processes

Public participation and stakeholder engagement processes will be conducted and will include the placement of adverts in local / regional newspapers, placement of site notices and distribution of this background information document.

Public meetings are proposed in order to provide stakeholders an opportunity to be involved in the process. Focus group meetings are also proposed to facilitate information transfer for specifically identified stakeholders. These meetings will be facilitated by ERM in English and Afrikaans and will be translated into Tswana/Xhosa.

Hardcopy draft and final reports will be made available to the public and specific stakeholders at publicly accessible places; distributed to commenting authorities such as Department of Water Affairs (DWA), Provincial Agriculture Departments, Provincial Environmental Departments, Local Municipalities, District Municipalities, DEA: Waste Management, Pollution and Waste Management Departments, South African National Roads Agency and submitted to DEA as th e competent authority.

Details of the public meetings will be announced to all registered stakeholders and the general public through newspaper adverts and written notification.

Environmental Authorisation for the Establishment of a New Rail Compilation Yard in Mamathwane, near Hotazel, Northern Cape Province

Environmental Authorisation for Proposed Expansion of Transnet’s Existing Manganese Ore Export Railway Line and Associated Infrastructure, Northern and Eastern Cape

Documents

FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

Final Environmental Impact Report
Annexure A: Broader Policy and planning context
Annexure B: Stakeholder Database
Annexure C : Public Participation Information
Annexure D: Construction Environmental Management Plan
Annexure E: Standard Environmental Specification
Annexure F1- Air Quality Assessment
Annexure F2 - Ecological Impact Assessment
Annexure F3 - Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment
Annexure F4 - Desktop Palaeontological Impact Assessment
Annexure F5 - Heritage and Archaelogical Impact Assessment
Annexure F6 - Water Course Assessment

FINAL BASIC ASSESSMENT REPORT

Cover, Sign Off Page, Basic Assessment Report
Appendix A - Locality Maps
Appendix B - Photographs
Appendix C1 - Facility Illustrations
Appendix C2 - Property Description
Appendix D1 - Ecological Specialist Report
Appendix D2 - Paleontological Specialist Study
Appendix D3 - Heritage Specialist Report
Appendix D4 - Noise Specialist Report
Appendix D5 - Social Specialist Study
Appendix D6 - Air Quality Specialist Study
Appendix D7 - Surface Water Assessment
Appendix E - Public Participation Process (Part 1)
Appendix E - Public Participation Process (Part 2)
Appendix F - Impact Assessment
Appendix G - Environmental Management Plan
Appendix G1 - Construction Environmental Management Plan
Appendix G2 - Standard Environmental Specification
Appendix H - Details and Expertise of EAP
Appendix I - Specialist Declarations

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

Cover, sign off page, Contents
Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - Project Description
Chapter 3 - EIA process
Chapter 4 - Impact Assessment Approach and Methodology
Chapter 5 - Administrative Framework
Chapter 6 - Receiving Environment
Chapter 7 - Impact Assessment and Description
Chapter 8 - Environmental Management Programme ( Project Environment Specification)
Chapter 9 - Conclusion
Chapter 10 - References

ANNEXURES

Annexure A - Broader Policy and Planning Context
Annexure B - Stakeholder Database
Annexure C - Public Participation Information
Annexure D - Construction Environmental Management Plan
Annexure E - Standard Environmental Spedicification
Annexure F - Specialist Impact Assessment Reports
Annexure F1 - Air Quality Assessment
Annexure F2 - Ecological Impact Assessmnt
Annexure F3 - Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment
Annexure F4 - Desktop Palaeontological Impact Assessment
Annexure F5 - Heritage and Archaeological Impact Assessment (Part1)
Annexure F5 - Heritage and Archaelogical Impact Assessment (Part 2)
Annexure F5 - Heritage and Archaelogical Impact Assessment (Part 3)
Annexure F6 - Water Course Assessment

The following documents are available in the languages below.

Background Information Document

English (1Mb PDF)
Afrikaans(1Mb PDF)
Xhosa(1Mb PDF)
Tswana(1Mb PDF)

Announcement Letter

English (45Kb PDF)
Afrikaans(52Kb PDF)

Comment & registration sheet

English and Afrikaans (209Kb PDF)


DRAFT SCOPING REPORT

Draft Scoping Report
Annexure A - Administrative Framework
Annexure B - Photolog
Annexure C - Public Participation
Annexure D - Communication with DEA

FINAL SCOPING REPORT

Final Scoping Report
Annexure A - Administrative Framework
Annexure B - Photolog
Annexure C - Public Participation
Annexure D - Communication with DEA

AMENDMENT REPORT

Amendment Report

DRAFT BASIC ASSESSMENT REPORT

Cover page, sign off page
Draft Basic Assessment Report (Part 1)
Draft Basic Assessment Report (Part 2)

Appendices:

Appendix A - Locality Maps
Map Showing Loop Amendment and Extentions
Map Showing Loop Extentions
Map showing NBA2011 Terrestrial Ecosystem
Map showing Terrestial Ecosystem Protection Level
Topo for Drennan Loop
Topo Fieldsview Loop
Topo Glosam Loop
Topo Golden Valley and Cookhouse Loop
Topo Kommadagga and Ripon Loops
Topo New Sishen Loop
Topo New Witloop Loop
Topo Postmasburg and Tsantsabane Loop
Topo Thorngrove Loop
Topo Trewill Loop
Topo Ulso and Gong Gong Loop
Topo Wincanton Loop
Appendix B - Photographs
Appendix C - Facility Illustrations and property descriptions
Facility Illustrations (Part 1)
Facility Illustrations (Part 2)
Facility Illustrations (Part 3)
Farm names and numbers and ward numbers
Ownership at Cookhouse Loop
Ownership at Drennan Loop
Ownership at Glosam Loop
Ownership at Golden Valley Loop
Ownership at Gong Gong Loop
Ownership at Kommadagga
Ownership at Postmasburg and Tsantsabane Loops
Ownership at Sishen Loop
Owenship at Thorngrove Loop
Ownership at Ulco Loop
Ownership at Wincanton Loop
Ownership at Witloop Loop
Appendix D - Specialist Studies
Air
Ecological
Heritage
Noise
Palaeontological
Social
Appendix E - Public Participation
Appendix F - Impact Assessment
Appendix G - EMP
Appendix H - Details and expertise of EAP
Appendix I - Specialist Declaration
Appendix J - Waste Management Licence Application
Appendix K - Service Confirmation letter

Re Release of Draft Basic Assessment Report

Cover page, Sign off page, Draft BAR
Appendix A - Locality Maps
Appendix B - Photography
Appendix C1 - Facility Illustrations
Appendix C2 - Property Descriptions
Appendix D1 - Ecological Specialist Report
Appendix D2 - Paleontological Specialist Report
Appendix D3 - Heritage Specialist Report
Appendix D4 - Noise Specialist Report
Appendix D5 - Social Specialist Report
Appendix D6 - Air Specialist Report
Appendix D7 - Surface Water Assessment
Appendix E - Public Participation
Appendix F - Impact Assessment
Appendix G - EMPR