Former BCL mine liquidator, Nigel Dixon- Warren who raked millions before being relieved of his duties is not yet off the hook as government is currently considering actions to be followed against him. Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Eric Molale told Parliament that Dixon-Warren was advised by the Regulator against the flooding of the mine in one of the shaft extensions but he ignored the advice.
Molale said the No. 3 Shaft has not been flooded and water continues to be pumped out from the shaft as part of the broader Care and Maintenance activities. He said the former liquidator stopped dewatering the South East Extension Shaft in November, 2018. The water has now reached the targeted 1000 metres level below ground and dewatering has commenced to keep the water level below the 1000 metres and also avoiding the water running into No. 3 Shaft.
Molale was answering a question from MP for Selibe Phikwe West, Dithapelo Koorapetse who asked the minister to update Parliament on the flooding of South East Extension and Number 3 shafts at BCL mine, in particular to explain why these shafts were flooded, including who authorised the flooding, if this was in line with the provisions of the Mine, Quarries, Works and Machinery Act and whether the Director of Mines was consulted.
“Flooding of the South East Extension was solely the decision of the recently outgone liquidator. The regulator was merely informed, the regulator advised against it. The regulator’s warning was ignored by the liquidator,” said Molale. Keorapetse had also wanted to know if the flooding is likely to contaminate (possibly heavy metals) the local (SPEDU region) acquifers and the consequences on farming and human life, if the flooding has anything to do with the earth vibrations in the town, and if there is anyone who is held responsible, including legally, for the flooding and its aftermaths.
Molale said he cannot ascertain at this point if the flooding will contaminate the acquifers. However, studies will have to be conducted in order to determine and verify the spatial extent, sphere of influence, as well as the long term effects of the flooding of the shafts.
This will form part of the closure and rehabilitation for the shafts and this study is still to be commissioned. He revealed that his ministry has launched investigations into the nature and cause of the earth tremors. At this stage, it is suspected that the cause is from the fall of ground at the old mine workings. “We expect the studies to conclude this month (August, 2019),” he said.
He said the ongoing investigations into the cause of the earth tremors are expected to shed light into their short and long term effects, in addition to determining the nature and cause.Once the tremors are understood and the effects established, the due process of the law will be followed to determine liability and consequent remedies Member of Parliament for Jwaneng-Mabutsane made a supplementary question asking Molale what action will be taken against former liquidator Dixon-Warren. Molale answered that all options are being pursued as to what action can be followed.