A REPORT ON AN ADDITIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT DONE FOR THE PLATINUM GROUP METALS WATERBERG PROSPECTING AREA, LIMPOPO PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by the Platinum Group Metals (RSA) Pty) Ltd to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for their Waterberg Prospecting Area. The project area lies to the west of the town of Bochum in the Limpopo Province.
The HIA includes six farms as these are the ones to be impacted by the proposed mining development. These farms are Old Lang Syne 360 LR, Early Dawn 361 LR, Goedetrouw 366 LR,Ketting 368 LR, Disseldorp 369 LR and Norma 365 LR. Surface infrastructure will be mainly limited to Ketting, with underground mining activities to be in operation at Goedetrouw, Old Lang Syne and Early Dawn. A small section of the proposed infrastructure will encroach on Disseldorp. A second possible position for the Tailings Storage Facility was determined on Norma. It is however highly unlikely that this will be utilized and therefore this farm was only studied by means of a desktop study.
The field survey for the project was conducted according to generally accepted HIA practices and was aimed at locating 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. However, since the area is extremely large the study is merely an indication of what cultural resources can be expected in the area.
Twenty-seven sites of cultural importance were identified on the six farms indicated above. Some of these sites will be impacted on and therefore mitigation measures are proposed.
Regarding impact on the sites the following should be indicated:
- No impact is foreseen at Disseldorp. No sites were identified. It needs to be mentioned that only a small section of the (eastern side) was surveyed since the mining infrastructure are limited to this area.
- No impact is foreseen at Early Dawn. The sites on this farm are sites no. 14-22 (graves), site 23 (historical residential remains) and site no. 24 (Iron Age pottery).
- No impact is foreseen at Old Lang Syne. The two sites on this farm are no. 12 and 13 (graves), both identified during the 2018 survey.
- No impact is foreseen at Goedetrouw. There are two sites on this farm, namely no. 25 and 26 (graves).
- No impact is foreseen at Norma. There is one known site, namely no. 27 (graves). However, should it be decided that the Tailings Storage Facility be moved here, a site assessment will be needed as this farm was only investigated via a desktop study. It is therefore possible that more sites may become known.
- Impact is only foreseen on the farm Ketting, but not on all the sites. At the following sites, no direct impact is expected – no. 4 (graves) and 10 (historical remains). Definite indirect impact is expected on the following sites – 1-2, 6-9 and 11 (graves), as well as no. 3 (Iron Age) and no. 5 (historical remains).
The following is recommended:
- Although twenty-seven sites of heritage significance were found in the surveyed area, it is foreseen that many more may be located there, especially graves. In fact, residents of the area whom were spoken to indicated that single graves are located throughout the bush. These however mostly seem to be outside of the area of direct impact, but it should at least be noted.
- All the graves are regarded as being of a high cultural significance. There are two possibilities of handling these. It should be handled as follows:
- 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. This option is implemented when indirect or secondary impact is foreseen.
- Option 2 is implemented when a direct impact is foreseen. 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.
- For the graves on the farms Old Lang Syne (sites 12 and 13), Early Dawn (sites 14-22), Goedetrouw (sites 25-26) and Norma (site 27) no action is needed. The graves are mostly fenced in and well looked after. The mine should however ensure that this situation remains unchanged. Therefore Option 1 should be implemented which would provide at least a monitoring plan for as long as the mine is operational in the area. Such a plan should be drafted by a heritage expert.
- Option 1 should also be implemented for the following grave sites on the farm Ketting – 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 11. These will be impacted on indirectly. This means that dust from mining activities or other impacts (e.g. blasting) may impact on the sites and therefore a management plan is required. The plan should be drafted by a heritage expert.
- All the historical residential remains (Early Dawn site 23; Ketting sites 4*, 5, 10 and 11*) are regarded as having low significance. This report is seen as ample mitigation and it may be demolished. However only secondary impact is expected, and it may therefore just be left as it is.
*Note that sites 4 and 11 are repeated as it contains both graves and historical remains.
- Site no. 7 on Ketting (historical stone walling) is regarded as having medium cultural significance. It should be documented after which it may be demolished. However, since only secondary impact is expected, it may be left as it is.
- The two Iron Age sites (Site 24 on Early Dawn and site 3 on Ketting) has been sufficiently recorded. It may be demolished, but only secondary impact is foreseen, and it may therefore also just be left as it is.
- The impact of the development on any new historical and grave sites identified during the course of the mines activities, should be assessed by a heritage specialist to determine impact and propose the needed mitigatory measures.
- Should the TSF be moved to Norma, the area will need to be physically surveyed, since it was only dealt with as a desktop study for this report.
- It should always 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.
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.