Platinum producer Lonmin has responded to claims by residents of Midstream Estate in Olifantsfontein that air pollution, which leaves them gasping for breath, emanates from hazardous waste from the company’s operations. Read the response below.
The calcium sulphite (CaSO3), a waste product derived from Western Platinum (RF) Proprietary Limited’s (WPL) processing smelter in the North West province, was disposed of at Interwaste’s FG waste disposal site (FG Landfill) in Olifantsfontein, Gauteng Province.
The company is obliged to have the waste disposed of at a licensed site in Gauteng as there are no licensed sites for this waste in the North West Province. WPL generates approximately 4 200 tonnes of CaSO3 per month. The waste is not classified carcinogenic, is classified as odourless and no data exists to indicate that this waste stream generates malodorous or noxious odours in the state that it is disposed of at the FG Landfill.
It is noted that all landfill sites accepting different types of wastes will generate odours.
Despite these, WPL has decided not to have the waste disposed of at the said site as of January 31, 2017.
In December 2016, WPL initiated a tender process for waste collection and transport contract valued at approximately R30 million a year as the current contract was due to expire. WPL is also exploring alternatives to waste disposal, has invested in research and development with the goal of making use of cleaner mechanisms, which would produce products rather than waste and remains committed to zero harm to the people and the environment.
WPL is committed to operating in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner. The wellbeing of all stakeholders remains a priority.
Watch testimonies from residents below: