A report on a heritage impact assessment for the proposed Main Street 778 (Pty) Ltd mining right application close to Hotazel, Northern Cape ProvinceSummary
Archaetnos cc was appointed by GCS to conduct a cultural heritage study for the proposed Mukulu Manganese Mine Project. The project already started in 2012 and since then various administrative and logistical aspects of the project received attention and approval. The current study is done in order to obtain further authorizations.
The Mukulu Manganese Mine Project is situated to the west of the existing Assmang Manganese Black Rock Mine. This is to the north of Hotazel in the Northern Cape Province and located across seven farms being Mukulu 265, Santoy 230, Belgravia 264, Olive Wood 282, Tigerpan 266 and Epsom 285. This project however only focused on the development on the Mukulu resource block, which will be mined through opencast and underground mining.
The Terms of Reference for the survey were to:
• Identify objects, sites, occurrences and structures of an archaeological or historical nature (cultural heritage sites) located on the property.
• Assess the significance of the cultural resources in terms of their archaeological, historical, scientific, social, religious, aesthetic and tourism value.
• Describe the possible impact of the proposed development on these cultural remains, according to a standard set of conventions.
• Recommend suitable mitigation measures to minimize possible negative impacts on the cultural resources by the proposed development.
• Review applicable legislative requirements.
The following conditions and assumptions have a direct bearing on the survey and the resulting report:
• Cultural Resources are all non-physical and physical man-made occurrences, as well as natural occurrences associated with human activity.
• 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.
• Cultural significance is site-specific and relates to the content and context of the site.
• 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.
• All recommendations are made with full cognizance of the relevant legislation.
• 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.
• It never is possible to know all sites previously recorded in a certain area to be investigated.
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:
• Archaeological artifacts, structures and sites older than 100 years
• Ethnographic art objects (e.g. prehistoric rock art) and ethnography
• Objects of decorative and visual arts
• Military objects, structures and sites older than 75 years
• Historical objects, structures and sites older than 60 years
• Proclaimed heritage sites
• Grave yards and graves older than 60 years
• Meteorites and fossils
• Objects, structures and sites or scientific or technological value.
Graves and burial grounds are divided into the following:
• ancestral graves
• royal graves and graves of traditional leaders
• graves of victims of conflict
• graves designated by the Minister
• historical graves and cemeteries
• human remains
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 are made.
The methodology for the Mukulu Manganese Mine Project included the following:
• Survey of literature
• Field survey – done according to generally accepted HIA practices and aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the area of proposed development.
• Documentation – done according to the general minimum standards accepted by the archaeological profession.
• Evaluation of Heritage sites:
o The unique nature of a site
o The integrity of the archaeological deposit
o The wider historic, archaeological and geographic context of the site
o The location of the site in relation to other similar sites or features
o The depth of the archaeological deposit (when it can be determined or is known)
o The preservation condition of the site
o Uniqueness of the site and
o Potential to answer present research questions.
The area that was surveyed can be divided into two subareas with distinct differences. The area where the plant and some of the infrastructure is planned mostly is disturbed although it does show certain natural characteristics. The second area is that of the different routes, which mostly seem natural, but with some indications of disturbance.
The vegetation cover differs throughout the surveyed area. In certain instances large open patches are found while other is overgrown with long grass and thick thorn bushes. The latter of course had a negative effect on both the horizontal as the vertical archaeological visibility.
The natural topography in most of the surveyed area is reasonably flat, although red sand dunes are found throughout.
During the survey only one site of cultural heritage significance was located in the mining area. However, there always is a possibility that more sites may become known later and that those need to be dealt with in accordance with the legislation discussed above. In fact some sites are known in the wider geographical area, located during other surveys done there.
As indicated only one site of cultural heritage importance was identified within the surveyed are. Two other sites were however found close (within 1 km) from one of the transport route options, and is therefore also discussed.
Site 1: Old shooting range
This is an old shooting range on the farm Mukulu. The site is regarded as having a low cultural significance. It is not very unique, but falls within the area earmarked for the open pit and infrastructure. It is given a field rating of General significance and is given a rating of Grade C (IV C). This report is therefore seen as ample mitigation and it may be demolished if needed.
Site 2: grave yard
This is the grave yard associated with the first farmers of the farm Olive wood. It consists of three graves dating between 1922 and 1938. The graves have cement dressings and beautifully carved slate headstones. The surnames identified are Heymans and Rossouw.
Graves always are regarded as having a high cultural significance. These graves are all older than 60 years and are therefore regarded as being heritage graves. The graves are of local significance and are therefore given a field rating of Grade IIIB. It may therefore be mitigated.
The site is within 1 km of one of the Kgalagadi Haul Road on Option 4 for the transport of coal. Should this option be chosen, grave option 1 is recommended. Although there will not be a direct impact, there always is a secondary impact due to dust and other activities. Such a management plan needs to be written by a heritage expert.
Site 3: farm yard
This is the original farm house and outbuildings on the farm Olive wood. It is made from very neatly cut limestone blocks and dates back to more or less the 1920’s.
The site is regarded as having a high cultural significance. It is not very unique to the area, but does tell a story about this part of the Kalahari. The buildings together form a farm yard with a specific functionality and meaning. The house also has specific features such as the names of the builders chiseled out in the stone. It therefore receives a field rating of Local significance, Grade IIIA. It may therefore not be mitigated.
The site is far from the mining activities and there will therefore not be a direct impact. However as with site no. 2 it is within 1 km of the Kgalagadi Haul Road on Option 4 for the transport of coal. Although there will not be a direct impact, there always is a secondary impact due to dust and other activities. The mine needs to ensure that the site is maintained and preserved.
The final recommendations are as follows:
• The only heritage site within the area of concern is site no.1, the old shooting range. The site however is of a low cultural significance and may be demolished. However should there be no need for this it can just be left as it is.
• The graveyard sites found (site no. 2) is of a high cultural significance. Exhumation is not recommended as there only will be a secondary impact. A heritage expert should write a management plan for the site if Option 4 for the transportation of coal is chosen. It also should be fenced in properly, maintained, managed and preserved. Access to possible descendants should be allowed.
• Should Option 4 for the transportation not be chosen the site may be left as it is, but the mine should monitor it for possible deterioration.
• Sites no. 3 represents the unique architecture of the Kalahari. Although not very unique in this region, it is unique of this part of the country. The buildings should therefore be maintained. Any changes planned thereto (or possible demolition) should be discussed with the Northern Cape PHRA first.
• However, the site is a very good example of this limestone architecture. It is therefore proposed that this site be maintained and preserved and that a management plan to this effect be drawn up by a heritage expert. This site may never be demolished and should stay as an example of this Kalahari farm architecture.
• It should be remembered that due to the factors indicated in the report, it is possible that all cultural sites may not have been identified. Also the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts are always a distinct possibility. Care should therefore be taken when development work commences that, if any more artifacts are uncovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate.
• It specifically needs to be mentioned that most of Option 5 for the transport of the coal, could not be investigated due to the area being inaccessible (locked gates etc.). It is therefore recommended that should this option be chosen a detailed investigation be conducted to ensure that no heritage sites are in danger.
• Proposed management measures for potential impacts, which should be followed as heritage protocol are:
• Loose stone tools found are usually of minor significance and should just be left as it is.
• Areas where a substantial number of stone tools are found together should be geo-referenced and left alone until such time as an archaeologist can visit the site to determine its significance.
• Although chances of finding Iron Age remains are slim, it should be treated similar to the above. Potshards found out of context should be left alone, but areas with stone walling or substantial pottery and other cultural remains should be geo-referenced and left alone until investigated by an archaeologist.
• All buildings and remains of buildings and other structures believed to be older than 60 years should be geo-referenced and left alone until and a heritage expert can be called in to determine the cultural significance thereof.
• Graves should be left in situ, geo-referenced and left alone until investigated by an archaeologist.
Dr. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L. Akad. S.A.) Accredited member of ASAPA Accredited member of SASCH & Zurethe Collins (BA), BA (Hons) Archaeology