Environmental governance in mining is evaluated

Project name:
Implementation evaluation of effectiveness of environmental governance in mining

Monitoring and evaluation

Public and Social

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation & impact assessment

Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, Department of Enviromental Affairs

2014 - 2015

South Africa

The National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) (NEMA) is the legislative environmental framework in South Africa. It defines the environmental management approach that should be integrated across all sectors, including mining. 

Genesis Analytics and Digby Wells Environmental were contracted by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), to conduct an implementation evaluation of environmental governance in the mining sector. The purpose was to assess the relevance and effectiveness of environmental legislation in mining and the implementation in achieving its objective.

Genesis developed a comprehensive evaluation framework based on the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) criteria to guide the evaluation. 

The evaluation included a comprehensive literature review, interviews with relevant government stakeholders, NGOs, research institutions, legal firms, mining company representatives, industry bodies, local municipalities and four case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of the environmental governance framework (Gauteng gold mining, Northern Cape asbestos mining, Mpumalanga coal mining and North West platinum mining).

The findings and analysis of the evaluation illustrated that in theory the environmental governance framework was appropriate for promoting good environmental governance in the mining sector. However, in practice the inadequate implementation and enforcement of the framework seriously compromised its efficacy and ability to ensure environmental sustainability. 

During the course of the evaluation, the legislation and regulations governing environmental governance in mining were revised, with the intention of creating a more harmonious framework for the environmental regulation of the mining industry. 

These changes aligned in many ways with the recommendations made during the evaluation, but their full effect has yet to be determined. This confirmed the relevance of the findings of the evaluation and provided evidence to continue to support initiatives already underway to improve the environmental governance framework and its implementation.

The evaluation team worked closely with the DEA to develop recommendations that were utility-focused and aligned to the department’s current environmental governance initiatives.

As a result of this iterative and collaborative process, the evaluation report, management response and improvement plan were formally endorsed by the Cabinet on 15 February 2017. 

The implementation of the evaluation’s recommendations will be monitored in line with the improvement plan as part of the Cabinet approval process. 

Cabinet approves evaluation of mining enviromental governance 


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