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The Mineral Resources Committee will be shifting its focus to land rehabilitation after mining has been exhausted.

The committee made this statement during an oversight visit to Exxaro’s Leeuwpan Mine and the state-owned Africa Exploration Mining and Finance company’s Vlakfontein Mine.

The committee said it was impressed with Exxaro’s concurrent mining and land rehabilitation programme, however, raised serious concerns with Vlakfontein’s delayed rehabilitation programme when mining licenses were heavily dependent on rehabilitation programmes.

“State-owned companies must lead by example and comply with all legislative and regulatory pre-scripts” said the committee Chairperson, Sahlulele Luzipo.

He called on mining companies to share land rehabilitation’s best practice models and strategies to the benefit of local communities, farmers, the environment and the economy.

Committee members who were accompanying Luzipo also questioned why Evander Gold Mines were destroying the existing building infrastructure, when these could be donated as housing, schools or health facilities to surrounding communities.

Members of the committee said they expect the company to submit a revised infrastructure strategy when it appears before the committee again.

Once the committee is back at Parliament, it will also look at why mining licenses are retained after companies have closed and decommissioned mines. This, committee members believe, can also assist in reducing illegal mining activities.

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