On 30 October 2015, Minister Edna Molewa gave notice of her intention to amend the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2014 and Listing Notices 1, 2 and 3 of 2014.
The deadline for public comment is 30 November 2015.
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Most of the proposed changes to the EIA Regulations are minor and are intended to improve synergy and clarity within the regulations themselves and with the enabling provisions in NEMA and future notices.
Notably, all references to Listing Notice 4 are to be removed and provisions inserted to rely on the future exceptions that the Minister may publish by way of a notice in the Government Gazette. These exceptions will relate to the manner, the need or the ability to obtain environmental authorization and the applicable instances and/or geographical areas identified and are intended to apply to activities that are:
- Listing Notice 2 activities but which will only require basic assessment;
- excluded from obtaining environmental authorization provided norms and standards are complied with;
- delisted and therefore no longer requiring environmental authorization;
- excluded from requiring environmental authorization on the basis of an adopted spatial tool or environmental management instrument.
- prohibited or restricting from the granting of environmental authorization
Amendments to regulation 54 will require that an application for an amendment of a MPRDA-approved EMPr or EMP submitted after the 8 December 2014 be dealt with in terms of Part 4 of Chapter 5 of the 2014 EIA Regulations and not Part 1 and 2 as is currently required. Another notable amendment is the insertion ofregulation 54A which will provide for transitional arrangements related to prospecting or exploration of a mineral or petroleum resource or extraction and primary processing of a mineral or petroleum resource, specifically in relation to environmental authorisation and auditing requirements.
In Listing Notice 1, there are minor amendments proposed to 7 of the 67 listed activities, namely, 1, 19, 32, 36, 48, 49 and 67.
The Listing Notice 2 activities for which amendments are being proposed are 1, 21 and 27.
Although Listing Notice 3 will be substituted in its entirety, the changes are predominantly structural. The 26 activities will retain their current wording but the third column which contains a description of the geographical areas based on environmental attributes is to be presented per province and no longer as a combined description as is the current situation for the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape provinces.