See email correspondence below from Martin Coetzee, the Advocate who is legally representing some of the Blombos Conservancy members.
Here are edited highlights from his note:
The purpose of this message is to update you on the meeting that I had today (Wednesday) with Advasol and PASA regarding the envisaged exploration right application in the Stilbaai and Struisbaai areas. The meeting was called by PASA and the objective was to address my request to Advasol for further particulars and to discuss the process forward.
The gist of the 2 hour meeting is as follows –
I was provided with some of the information that I requested (application, acceptance letter, exploration works programme and company structure). They however still refuse to disclose any information on the motivation for and objectives of the envisaged exploration and possible production in the areas under discussion, including particulars of any data compilation, desktop studies and satellite image processing and interpretation that, according to the Applicant was done during 2008 and 2009. Their argument is that there is simply no way that they are going to divulge information that may be used by other parties to embark on a similar process (A matter of excluding competition especially in light of the fact that Advasol sees this as a commercial venture)
It was acknowledged by PASA that Advasol would experience difficulty in providing locations for the envisaged drilling until the non-invasive process has been completed. It is for this reason that they, if the application is approved, would grant a “blanket” authorisation to explore (non-invasive) over the area indicated and to identify and locate the anticipated drilling holes, on the condition that prior to the drilling of any exploration hole Advasol will have to
Ø inform PASA of their intention to drill
Ø demarcate the drilling area and provide an environmental impact assessment in respect of the area; and
Ø deliver proof that the individual landowner concerned was consulted with and an agreement in this regard was entered into.
It was also confirmed that the EMP’s for exploration with regard to the areas of Infanta, De Hoop West, Mossel Bay West and Mossel Bay will be made available on Golder’s website Monday next. (Apparently the background information documents were already sent to interested and affected parties – I have not yet seen one, but I believe it should almost be carbon copies of the Struis – and Stilbaai ones).
On a more positive note PASA is in agreement that the public participation process leaves much to be desired (Golder blame a former consultant for this)
As a result it was agreed that an “open house” meeting will be held on 27 July in Stilbaai to which all registered interested parties will be invited. The format will be an informal session starting at 9:00 (looking at maps, reports etc) and then a formal presentation at 11:30. The objective is to attend to all questions persons may have and also to provide information required by the attendees to enable them to make an informed decision (sic). Notices in this regard will be sent out by the end of the week.
It was also agreed that a public participation meeting will be held in Cape Town (26th or 28th) for the benefit of all the Cape Town based landowners – the purpose will be the same as the Stilbaai one, without the informal part.
Finally it was agreed that, in order to enable us to properly do our research, consultations and reports, the final date upon which our submission must be submitted to PASA will be 18 August 2010. although Golder objected in that it would leave them no time to respond to our submission, they were overruled by PASA.
and that was it —