West Coast phosphate mine interdicted to stop drawing fossil water

Author: Don Pinnock

A dodgy phosphate operation mining bordering the West Coast National Park and near the environmentally sensitive Langebaan Lagoon has been slapped with an interdict to stop it dewatering the Elandsfontein aquifer.

Mining by Kropz Elandsfontein cuts through a biodiverse and climate-change-resilient corridor which was earmarked for inclusion in the West Coast National Park. As part of a long legal fight by environmental organisations in the area, the mine’s right to use the aquifer was automatically suspended when an appeal was lodged with the Water Tribunal, but it did not stop water offtake.

According to Walter Anderson at Cullinans and Associates, who lodged the appeal on behalf the West Coast Environmental Protection Association (WCEPA), Kropz continues to dewater the aquifer despite knowledge that commencement of the appeal suspends its water licence and despite not having challenged the validity of the appeal in the tribunal or court.