Changes to the National Environment Management Act (Nema) “have been affected so as to develop an integrated environmental regulatory system that now includes environmental authorisation for mining development”, she said, opening debate in Parliament on her department’s budget.
“The minister of mineral resources will now issue mining-related environmental impact assessments and waste licence authorisations, with the minister of environmental affairs being the appeals authority.”
The co-operative governance arrangement allowed “the simultaneous processing of air emissions and water-use licences for mining activities”.
This had necessitated changes to environmental acts governing waste, air quality and water services. Further regulations in this regard would be published later this year, she said.