A REPORT ON AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND BUILT ENVIRONMENT HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROPOSED FAIRVIEW TSF AND RECLAMATION OF HISTORIC DUMPS AT THE FAIRVIEW MINE CLOSE TO BARBERTON, MPUMALANGA PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by Cabanga Environmental to conduct an archaeological impact assessment (AIA), including a built environment impact assessment for the proposed Fairview Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) and reclamation of historic dumps. The Fairview Mine is managed by Barberton Mines (Pty) Ltd. This is close to Barberton in the Mpumalanga Province.
The project has three components:
- Construction of a new TSF, on the footprint of the original Bramber TSF and its expansion
- Upgrading of roads and
- Reclamation of historic dumps.
Barberton Mines Limited (BML), the Holder of the Mining Right at Fairview, is also the surface rights owner of the Farm Fairview 542 JU, and Portion 1 of the Farm Bramber South 348 JU, adjoining the Mining Right Area (MRA), and others. The proposed project further relates to the proposed construction of the Fairview TSF, on the footprint of the reclaimed Bramber TSF, which is located on the Farm Fairview 542 JU.
The methodology for the study includes a survey of literature and a field survey. The latter was conducted according to generally accepted HIA practices and was aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the area of proposed development/ reclamation.
If required, the location/position of any site was determined by means of a Global Positioning System (GPS), while photographs were also taken where needed. The survey was undertaken by doing a physical survey via off-road vehicle and on foot and covered as much as possible of the area to be studied. Certain factors, such as accessibility, density of vegetation, etc. may however influence the coverage.
All sites, objects, features and structures identified were documented according to the general minimum standards accepted by the archaeological profession. Co-ordinates of individual localities were determined by means of the GPS. The information was added to the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.
General public consultation will be done by Cabanga. The various specialist reports will be utilized for this purpose.
Eight 8 sites of cultural heritage significance were located during the survey of which 3 (no. 2, 3 and 5) are in the surveyed area. The other 5 sites (1, 4, 6, 7 and 8) are however very close thereto. The survey of the indicated area was completed successfully.
However, apart from sites identified outside of the project area, there are definitely more heritage sites further away, and these would ideally need to be assessed in comparison with the identified sites. This may have an effect on final evaluations.
Also the age of the mine dumps proposed for reclamation are all older than 60 years and thus are protected under the National Heritage Act (25 of 1999). As indicated above the heritage significance thereof is limited and it does not warrant any specific heritage intervention. However, specific features within it, may have a higher rating. Such features identified, are discussed below.
Thus, it should be remembered that recommendation made, will always be subject to the above-mentioned factors.
The following is recommended:
· Site no. 1 – grave yard: The site is of high significance but may be mitigated. It also should be included in the heritage register. Mitigation is subject to a permit application lodged with the relevant heritage authority.
Two possibilities exist. The first option would be to fence the graves in and have a cultural management plan (CMP) drafted for the sustainable preservation thereof. The second option is to exhume and relocate the mortal remains.
Since the site is not impacted on directly by the proposed development, Option 1 is recommended.
Site no. 6 – grave yard: The site is of high significance and may not be mitigated. It should be included in the heritage register and maintained in situ with a protected buffer zone and fencing. A CMP should be written for the sustainable preservation thereof.
· Site no. 8 – grave yard: The site is of high significance but may be mitigated. It also should be included in the heritage register. Mitigation is subject to a permit application lodged with the relevant heritage authority.
It is recommended that a CMP be drafted to ensure sustaiable preservation of the site.
Site no. 2 – ruin of stone building – The site is of medium heritage significance and may be mitigated. Mitigation is subject to a permit application lodged with the relevant heritage
Since the site falls outside of the project area, it should merely be left as it is, but the mine needs to ensure that it is not impacted on.
Site no. 3 – old mining plant: the site is of medium significance and should thus be included in the heritage register. It may be mitigated, but mitigation is subject to a permit application lodged with the relevant heritage
The site may be demolished, but it should be documented first by mapping and photographs.
Site no. 4 – house ruins – the site is of low significance and therefore the description in this phase 1 heritage report is seen as sufficient recording. It may be granted a destruction permit at the discretion of the relevant heritage authority without a formal permit application, subjected to the granting of Environmental Authorisation.
Site no. 5 – small building (possible magazines room): The site is of medium cultural significance. It should be included in the heritage register and may be mitigated. The mitigation is subject to a permit application lodged with the relevant heritage
The site may thus be demolished, but it should be documented first by mapping and photographs.
Site no. 7 – house ruins – the site is of low significance and therefore the description in this phase 1 heritage report is seen as sufficient recording. It may be granted a destruction permit at the discretion of the relevant heritage authority without a formal permit application, subjected to the granting of Environmental Authorisation.
It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. It may only become known later on, especially since the density of the vegetation probably influenced the accurate recording of sites. Therefore, operating controls and monitoring should be introduced, aimed at the possible unearthing of such features. Care should therefore be taken when development commences that if any of these are discovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate the occurrence.
It is also important to take cognizance that it is the client’s responsibility to do the submission of this report via the SAHRIS System on the SAHRA website. No work on site may commence before receiving the necessary comments from SAHRA.
Prof. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.)
Accredited member of ASAPA (Accreditation number: 166)
Accredited member of SASCH (Accreditation number: CH001)
Daniël Viljoen (BA Hons)