IPP Waterberg (Thabametsi) Power Station Near Lephalale, Limpopo Province DEA Ref No: 14/12/16/3/3/40 New Shelf 1282 (Pty) Ltd
COAL-FIRED POWER STATION AND ASSOCIATED INFRASTRUCTURE – IPP WATERBERG (THABAMETSI) POWER STATION, NEAR LEPHALALE, LIMPOPO PROVINCE
New Shelf 1282 (Pty) Ltd, an Independent Power Producer (IPP) is proposing the construction of a coal-fired power station (the “Project”) on the farm Onbelyk 254LQ near Lephalale in the Limpopo Province. The project is known as the Thabametsi Coal-Fired Power Station. The power station will have a generating capacity of up to 1200MW which is intended to provide baseload electricity for integration into the national grid.
The project was authorized by the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on 25 February 2015 (in terms of the 2010 EIA Regulations). Subsequently, an appeal was lodged on 11 May 2015 by the Centre for Environmental Rights. On 14 September 2015 a decision on the appeal was issued by the Minister of Environmental Affairs. The grounds of the appeal were dismissed, however it was contended that climate change impacts had not been adequately addressed in the EIA. Condition 10.5 was subsequently inserted into the Environmental Authorization.
The new Condition 10.5 states that ”the holder of the authorization must undertake a climate change impact assessment prior to commencement of the project which is to commence no later than six months from the date of signature of the appeal decision. The climate change study must be lodged with the department for review and the recommendations contained therein must be considered by the department”.
In the appeal resolution the Minister also states that a paleontological study is required to be conducted for the proposed project. A palaeontological study was conducted in 2014 in terms of the requirements of the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA).
Although this study was submitted to the DEA for review as part of its decision-making process, it did not form part of the EIA report for the project. Notwithstanding this, Condition 10.6 was subsequently inserted into the Environmental Authorization.
The new Condition 10.5 states that “A palaeontological Impact Assessment Report (PIAR) must be prepared and submitted to the Department for consideration prior to commencement of the project and within six months of the date of this decision. The PAIR must be lodged with the Department for review and it must also be lodged with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) for official commenting in terms of Section 38(8) of the National Heritage Resources Act, No 25 of 1999. The PAIR must be based on a field assessment, and be prepared by a suitably qualified palaeontologist.”
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