Mine rehabilitation funds became a part of our public discourse late last year when it emerged that Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration & Resources had allegedly attempted to hijack Optimum Coal’s R1.47bn mine rehabilitation trust. Having failed to break into that particular piggy bank, Tegeta turned its attention to Koornfontein’s R280m rehabilitation fund. Raiding a rehabilitation fund has dire implications for communities and the environment. The Centre for Environmental Resources (CER) has a plan for removing much of the controversy and uncertainty around the funds. The nongovernmental organisation believes the solution is more transparency and public participation in the transfer of mining rights. The CER says it is concerned about the trend of large mining companies selling their mines, usually with significant environmental liabilities, to smaller mining companies. "These smaller mining companies are often either unable, or unwilling, to comply with the rehabilitation obligations ...

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