A report on a cultural heritage impact assessment done for the Anglo American Platinum and African Rainbow Minerals Modikwa Platinum Mine North 1 Project, close to Burgersfort, Limpopo ProvinceSummary
Archaetnos cc was requested by SRK Consulting to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for the proposed Anglo American Platinum and African Rainbow Minerals Modikwa Platinum Mine North 1 Shaft 2 Project. This is close to the town of Burgersfort and Steelpoort in the Limpopo Province.
The mining area includes the farms Maandagshoek 254 KT, Driekop 253 KT, Hendrikplaats 281 KT, Onverwacht 292 KT and Winterveld 293 KT. The project entails the sinking of a ventilation shaft and establishment of a crusher plant, both on the farm Hedrikplaats 281 KT.
The Terms of Reference for the survey were to:
1. Identify as much as possible objects, sites, occurrences and structures of an archaeological or historical nature (cultural heritage sites) located on the property.
2. Study background information on the area to be developed.
3. Assess the significance of the cultural resources in terms of their archaeological, historical, scientific, social, religious, aesthetic and tourism value.
4. Describe the possible impact of the proposed development on these cultural remains, according to a standard set of conventions.
5. Recommend suitable mitigation measures to minimize possible negative impacts on the cultural resources by the proposed development.
6. Review applicable legislative requirements.
The following conditions and assumptions have a direct bearing on the survey and the resulting report:
1. Cultural Resources are all non-physical and physical man-made occurrences, as well as natural occurrences associated with human activity. These include all sites, structure and artifacts of importance, either individually or in groups, in the history, architecture and archaeology of human (cultural) development. Graves and cemeteries are included in this.
2. The significance of the sites, structures and artifacts is determined by means of their historical, social, aesthetic, technological and scientific value in relation to their uniqueness, condition of preservation and research potential. The various aspects are not mutually exclusive, and the evaluation of any site is done with reference to any number of these aspects.
3. Cultural significance is site-specific and relates to the content and context of the site. Sites regarded as having low cultural significance have already been recorded in full and require no further mitigation. Sites with medium cultural significance may or may not require mitigation depending on other factors such as the significance of impact on the site. Sites with a high cultural significance require further mitigation.
4. The latitude and longitude of any archaeological or historical site or feature, is to be treated as sensitive information by the developer and should not be disclosed to members of the public.
5. All recommendations are made with full cognizance of the relevant legislation.
6. It has to be mentioned that it is almost impossible to locate all the cultural resources in a given area, as it will be very time consuming. Developers should however note that the report should make it clear how to handle any other finds that might occur. In this case there were certain areas where the vegetation cover was very dense which had a negative effect on archaeological visibility.
Aspects concerning the conservation of cultural resources are dealt with mainly in two acts. These are the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999) and the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998).
According to the National Heritage Resources Act the following is protected as cultural heritage resources:
a. Archaeological artifacts, structures and sites older than 100 years
b. Ethnographic art objects (e.g. prehistoric rock art) and ethnography
c. Objects of decorative and visual arts
d. Military objects, structures and sites older than 75 years
e. Historical objects, structures and sites older than 60 years
f. Proclaimed heritage sites
g. Grave yards and graves older than 60 years
h. Meteorites and fossils
i. Objects, structures and sites of scientific or technological value.
A Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) is the process to be followed in order to determine whether any heritage resources are located within the area to be developed as well as the possible impact of the proposed development thereon.
The act also states that no person may, without a permit issued by the responsible heritage resources authority (national or provincial):
a. destroy, damage, excavate, alter, deface or otherwise disturb any archaeological or paleontological site or any meteorite;
b. destroy, damage, excavate, remove from its original position, collect or own any archaeological or paleontological material or object or any meteorite;
c. trade in, sell for private gain, export or attempt to export from the Republic any category of archaeological or paleontological material or object, or any meteorite; or
d. Bring onto or use at an archaeological or paleontological site any excavation equipment or any equipment that assists in the detection or recovery of metals or archaeological and paleontological material or objects, or use such equipment for the recovery of meteorites.
e. Alter or demolish any structure or part of a structure which is older than 60 years as protected.
The above mentioned may only be disturbed or moved by an archaeologist, after receiving a permit from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). In order to demolish such a site or structure, a destruction permit from SAHRA will also be needed.
Graves and burial grounds are divided into the following:
a. ancestral graves
b. royal graves and graves of traditional leaders
c. graves of victims of conflict
d. graves designated by the Minister
e. historical graves and cemeteries
f. human remains
In terms of Section 36(3) of the National Heritage Resources Act, no person may, without a permit issued by the relevant heritage resources authority:
a. destroy, damage, alter, exhume or remove from its original position of otherwise disturb the grave of a victim of conflict, or any burial ground or part thereof which contains such graves;
b. destroy, damage, alter, exhume or remove from its original position or otherwise disturb any grave or burial ground older than 60 years which is situated outside a formal cemetery administered by a local authority; or
c. Bring onto or use at a burial ground or grave referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) any excavation, or any equipment which assists in the detection or recovery of metals.
All graves older than 60 years are called heritage graves and should be handled by an archaeologist. This includes archaeological graves, which are older than 100 years. Unidentified/unknown graves (which refers to date of death) are also handled as older than 60 until proven otherwise.
Human remains that are less than 60 years old are subject to provisions of the Human Tissue Act (Act 65 of 1983) and to local regulations. Exhumation of graves must conform to the standards set out in the Ordinance on Excavations (Ordinance no. 12 of 1980) (replacing the old Transvaal Ordinance no. 7 of 1925).
Permission must also be gained from the descendants (where known), the National Department of Health, Provincial Department of Health, Premier of the Province and local police. Furthermore, permission must also be gained from the various landowners (i.e. where the graves are located and where they are to be relocated) before exhumation can take place.
The National Environmental Management Act states that a survey and evaluation of cultural resources must be done in areas where development projects, that will change the face of the environment, will be undertaken. The impact of the development on these resources should be determined and proposals for the mitigation thereof be made.
Environmental management should also take the cultural and social needs of people into account. Any disturbance of landscapes and sites that constitute the nation’s cultural heritage should be avoided as far as possible and where this is not possible the disturbance should be minimized and remedied.
The field survey for the project 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. One regularly looks a bit wider than the demarcated area, as the surrounding context needs to be taken into consideration.
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.
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.
The evaluation of heritage sites is done by giving a field rating of each using the following criteria:
• The unique nature of a site
• The integrity of the archaeological deposit
• The wider historic, archaeological and geographic context of the site
• The location of the site in relation to other similar sites or features
• The depth of the archaeological deposit (when it can be determined or is known)
• The preservation condition of the site
• Uniqueness of the site and
• Potential to answer present research questions.
The development consists of two separate areas, both with different environmental conditions. The first is the three alternative areas where the crusher plant is proposed and the second the area where the North 1 Shaft is being proposed.
The Crusher Plant Area A is completely disturbed. The Crusher Plant Area B also is completely disturbed. Both these areas are not seen as high-risk for finding historical and archaeological remains.
The Crusher Plant Area C also seem to be disturbed, but not to the same extent as the other two alternatives. Whereas nothing of heritage significance were expected in areas A and B, this alternative, Area C, has characteristics indicating that it may contain heritage features. In fact, Middle Stone Age material as well as Late Iron Age pottery were identified. In the south-eastern corner of the area the remains of an old explosive magazine was identified.
As far as the proposed Ventilation Shaft area is concerned, the environment seems mostly undisturbed. The environmental characteristics indicate that this area may contain heritage features. In fact, Middle Stone Age material, Late Iron Age/ Historical features and graves were identified.
The following is recommended:
Crusher Plant Areas –
• Two sites were identified, both within Area C.
• Site no. 1 (explosives magazine) is likely younger than 60 years and therefore is given a rating of low cultural significance. This Phase 1 report is seen as sufficient recording and it may therefore be demolished if necessary.
• Site no. 2 (Iron Age pottery) is regarded as having a low cultural significance since it was found out of context. This means that this Phase 1 report is seen as sufficient recording and it may be demolished if necessary.
• There is no specific preference for any of the three alternatives for the placement of the Crusher Plant. It may therefore be placed at any one.
• However, should Area C be chosen one will have to be on the lookout for the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts, which always is a distinct possibility. 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.
Ventilation Shaft Area –
• Four sites were identified.
• Site no 3 consist of a single grave and historical housing remains. Site no 4 and 5 are graves. Site no 6 and 7 consist of historical stone walling.
• The historical remains (housing remains at site no 3, as well as site no 6 and 7) are not very unique and therefore this Phase 1 report is seen as sufficient recording and it may be demolished if necessary.
• Graves are always regarded to be of high cultural significance. There are two possibilities of handling this.
o The first option would be to fence the graves in and have a management plan drafted for the sustainable preservation thereof. This should be written by a heritage expert.
o However the mine should ensure that no direct impact is experience (e.g. caving in of the soil). Should any danger be posed to the graves, option 2 will have to be taken. This is to exhume the mortal remains and then to have it relocated. For this a detailed motivation will have to be written and applied for to SAHRA. If approved, the specific procedure should be followed which includes social consultation. For graves younger than 60 years only an undertaker is needed. For those older than 60 years and unknown graves an undertaker and archaeologist is needed. Permits should be obtained from the Burial Grounds and Graves unit of SAHRA. This procedure is quite lengthy and involves social consultation.
• It would be possible to ensure no direct impact on the graves, by placing the ventilation shaft at least 20 m from it. However, if blasting is to be done regularly this buffer zone should be at least 100 m.
• Bearing this in mind, Option 1 is recommended.
• After implementation of the mitigation measures recommended, the proposed development may continue.
• It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. 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.
Dr. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.)