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Free State Business 2022

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INTERVIEW Ensuring sustainability and a positive legacy PJ Jordaan, Closure Manager of De Beers Voorspoed Mine, gives an overview of the complex and detailed procedures that have to be followed in closing a mine. What stage in the mine closure process has been reached? The mine officially closed in December 2018 and has entered the decommissioning and rehabilitation phase. The overall rehabilitation goal is to manage the mine site and continue with rehabilitation in order to meet the end land use of agricultural and grazing for stock after final closure. A decision was taken at the end of 2019 to defer certain closure activities for two to three years, as further work is required to improve the closure cost estimate to an acceptable level and to address uncertainty regarding post-closure monitoring requirements. Petrus Jordaan, Closure Manager, De Beers Group, Voorspoed Mine BIOGRAPHY PJ Jordaan is a geologist with more than 25 years of experience in gold and diamond mining with Anglo American and De Beers. He has a passion for the diamond industry with a strong interest in all aspects of diamond mining and mine closure. In 2018 he took on the role of Closure Manager, where he leads the Voorspoed closure team by managing all closure activities, focused on reimagining asset retirement deliverables to improve communities in the company’s zone of influence. What are the remaining timelines? A three-year period of active closure and rehabilitation is planned to start in January 2023, provided an environmental authorisation (EA) has been issued by the DMRE. The intent of the closure and rehabilitation programme will be to remediate the site to the approved final closure plan standards. Follow‐up monitoring will continue beyond the rehabilitation phase, ie until 2031, as required by the various regulatory authorities. What are some considerations in a mine closure process? The key consideration of the mine closure process is to ensure sustainability beyond mine closure and to leave a positive legacy behind. Successful closure can further be defined as meeting the guidelines established by internal corporate requirements with regard to mine closure (Anglo American Mine Closure Performance Standard and associated Mine Closure Toolbox), as well as the statutory requirements in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002. What are the key environmental standards that have to be met, and how is Voorspoed executing these requirements? The overarching framework governing South Africa is the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996). Various rights are entrenched in the Constitution, including the right to an environment that is not harmful to the health or wellbeing of the population, otherwise called the environmental right. The mining industry is further regulated by mining, FREE STATE BUSINESS 2022 32

INTERVIEW environmental, human health and safety legislation. The interaction between various acts of parliament that deal with the environment is varied and complex, as is the range of environmental issues that are regulated. Some of the applicable legislation includes the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 (MPRDA), and the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA). The Voorspoed closure plan has been prepared to give effect to the various legal and corporate requirements that govern the process and requirements for the closure of Voorspoed Mine. Is Voorspoed expected to rehabilitate the area? Yes. The MPRDA is the main source of rehabilitation obligations. It requires rights holders to “as far as reasonably practicable” rehabilitate the land affected by the operation “to its natural or predetermined state”, or to a land use which conforms to the generally accepted principle of sustainable development. Concurrent rehabilitation commenced in 2014 when the mine was still in operation and the mine has already successfully rehabilitated the Waste Rock Dump (WRD) as per the agreed commitments in the approved EMPR and closure plan. Have you been working with the Moqhaka and Ngwathe Municipalities in terms of their Local Economic Development plans? Certainly. Delivering lasting positive socioeconomic change in our mine communities is fundamental. Thus, we have managed to maintain a long-standing relationship with our local municipalities. We have worked and continue working collaboratively to contribute towards the effective delivery of their Local Economic Development plan needs, including infrastructure, healthcare, education and Enterprise Development. That’s why one of the three global pillars of our Sustainable Mining Plan is Thriving Communities. We are reimagining mine closure to improve people’s lives. Has Voorspoed been involved in training mine workers for work in other sectors? The mine introduced a dedicated, fully funded re-skilling programme from 2017 until closure (or as agreed), which provided employees with a range of portable skills allowing them to meaningfully compete for opportunities post closure. The programme focussed on nonmining-related training, entrepreneurial and other programmes in line with the Workplace Skills Plan. ■ 33 FREE STATE BUSINESS 2022

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