National 12.8.2016 01:59 pm

‘Don’t buy from illegal quarries’

Aspasa director Nico Pienaar is appealing to citizens to report illegal quarrying operations. Picture: South Coast Herald

Aspasa director Nico Pienaar is appealing to citizens to report illegal quarrying operations. Picture: South Coast Herald

Operators of illegal quarries are “flouting the law, ruining the environment and exploiting workers who were paid menial wages”.

The Aggregate and Sand Producers’ Association of Southern Africa (Aspasa) is asking concerned citizens to help authorities to identify illegal quarrying operations, reports the South Coast Herald.

According to Aspasa director Nico Pienaar, operators of these quarries were flouting the law, ruining the environment and exploiting workers who were paid menial wages to undertake potentially dangerous work.

He said legal quarries had to comply with strict mining legislation to extract sands and aggregates sustainably and to rehabilitate the land when quarrying operations were complete. This compliance comes at a cost and this allows unscrupulous illegal operators to undercut prices and jeopardise the livelihoods of legitimate operators.

As a result, Aspasa was calling on all citizens, not only construction professionals and law enforcers, to be on the lookout for quarries that did not seem to be well-run or that polluted the environment, as these could well be illegal.

Members of Aspasa were bound by comprehensive legislation regarding mining rights, royalties, health, safety, environment, usage right and rehabilitation. They also had to adhere to the association’s own strict requirements and were audited annually.

They operated on a “good neighbour” basis, getting involved in all manner of social upliftment schemes and working with local communities, providing them with good quality building materials at reasonable prices, he said.

“Saving a little money by buying from illegal quarries is not worth the risk to people and their surroundings. We therefore call on individuals to contact Aspasa, the department of mineral resources, the police and municipalities to report possible illegal operators and help snuff out harmful and illegal quarrying practices,” said Pienaar.

He said nobody was allowed to excavate and remove sand, stones or soil without permits, no matter how big or small the operation was. This included so called “borrow pits” used by construction companies, and sand taken from rivers or beaches..

Details: Aspasa, 011 7913327.

Caxton News Service

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