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South Africa: Compliance date for the National Environmental Management Act: Financial Provisioning Regulations proposed to be extended again

29 May 2023
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Currently, the date to comply with the Financial Provisioning Regulations 2015 published in terms of the National Environmental Management Act 1998, under Government Notice R1147 in Government Gazette 39425 of 20 November 2015, as amended (FP Regulations), is 19 September 2023. However, it seems that this date might be extended yet again.

On 19 May 2023, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment published a further notice of her intention to amend regulation 17B of the FP Regulations. This will be the fifth extension of the compliance period, which proposes to extend the compliance deadline to comply with the FP Regulations, to 19 February 2024. Interested and affected persons have until 19 June 2023 to comment on this proposed extension.

The extension is proposed so that the proposed amendments to the FP Regulations, the latest draft version of which was published on 11 July 2022 in the Proposed Regulations Pertaining to Financial Provisioning for Mitigation and Rehabilitation of Environmental Damage Caused by Reconnaissance, Prospecting, Exploration, Mining or Production Operations (Draft FP Regulations), can be finalised.

It is desirable that the Draft FP Regulations are finalised soon so as to create legal certainty for mining right holders and to ensure the environmental financial provisioning regime is settled once and for all.

Notwithstanding the proposed amendment, mining right holders are urged to continue to prepare for a new financial provisioning regime which, as is evident from the above, will come into effect sooner rather than later. The proposed amendments are fundamental, and holders need to prepare for them in advance.