A REPORT ON A CULTURAL HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR A PROPOSED MINING RIGHTS APPLICATION ON THE FARMS FOLMINK 331, KLOOFFONTEIN 332, MIDDELWATER 18 AND FARM 597, CLOSE TO PRIESKA, NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by ALS Mining to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for a proposed mining right application on the farms Folmink 331, Klooffontein 332, Middelwater 18 and Farm 597. This is close to the town of Prieska in the Northern Cape Province. Prieska falls within the Hay District of the Northern Cape Province.
The heritage study forms part of an Environmental Authorisation Process. This report is the result of the HIA study.
The proposed activities include bulk sampling activities, that will include drilling and invasive prospecting pits.
The methodology for the study includes a survey of literature followed by a field assessment. 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.
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 Global Positioning System (GPS). The information was added to the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.
Public consultation is done by the Environmental Practitioner.
During the survey six sites of cultural heritage significance were identified.
The following is recommended:
- The farm Middelwater 18 could not be surveyed, since access was not allowed. Therefore no mining or prospecting activities may be undertaken here until such time as an HIA has been done.
- Regarding the other three farms, the development may continue, but only after the report had been approved by SAHRA. Since none of the sites are in the area of impact, this report is seen as ample mitigation.
- Sites no. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 may be left in situ, since it falls outside of the area of impact.
- However, site no. 5 (graves) is regarded as an extremely sensitive site, and although it does not fall within the area of impact, the developer should ensure its protection. Therefore the site should be fenced in, a buffer zone of 20 m kept at all times and a management plan drafted to ensure the sustainable preservation of the graves.
- It should also be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. Due to the density of vegetation in certain areas it also is possible that some sites may only become known later. Operating controls and monitoring should therefore be 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.
- In this regard the following ‘Chance find Procedure’ should be followed:
- Upon finding any archaeological or historical material all work at the affected area must cease.
§ The area should be demarcated to prevent any further work there until an investigation has been completed.
§ An archaeologist should be contacted immediately to provide advice on the matter.
- Should it be a minor issue, the archaeologist will decide on future action. Depending on the nature of the find, it may include a site visit.
- SAHRA’s APM Unit may also be notified.
§ If needed, the necessary permit will be applied for with SAHRA. This will be done in conjunction with the appointed archaeologist.
§ The removal of such archaeological material will be done by the archaeologist in lieu of the approval given by SAHRA, including any conditions stipulated by the latter.
§ Work on site will only continue after the archaeologist/ SAHRA has agreed to such a matter.
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.