A settlement between the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) and coal miner Exxaro on the lapsing of the environmental authorisation granted to Exxaro to mine coal deposits near the Arnot mine has been made an order of court. Exxaro was supplying Eskom with coal on a fixed-cost contract from Arnot under a long-term supply agreement which ended last December. The mine was closed, but Exxaro’s 2015 mineral resources and reserves statement said there were still about 17-million tonnes of saleable thermal coal on the property, which Exxaro had been preparing to mine. The FSE took Exxaro to court, arguing it had started certain listed activities without applying for an environmental authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act. Exxaro said it did not need this as it already had mining rights under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act. It applied for environmental approval as a matter of prudence, which was granted by Mpumalanga’s economic develo...

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