Atmospheric Emissions Licenses (AEL’s) are obligatory under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004 (AQA) for activities that result in atmospheric emissions which have a significant negative environmental impact, listed in GN 893 of November 22, 2013.

For an AEL application process, either the local District Municipality, Metropolitan Municipality or Provincial Department is the licensing authority who can issue an AEL. Once an AEL has been issued, the local Municipality or Provincial department concerned becomes the competent authority to whom compliance reports must be submitted.

Atmospheric Emission Licences generally require quarterly reporting with regards to compliance obligations, with content of the report to include as a minimum:
  • Pollutant Emissions Trends.
  • Dust fallout and emission monitoring reports.
  • Compliance Audit Reports (internal & external) showcasing compliance with the licence conditions.
  • Details on major upgrades or projects undertaken and installation of abatement equipment.
  • Complaints and close-out of complaints.
Licence Holders however often do not compile and submit these reports as required, placing them in non-compliance with the requirements of the held AEL.

In view of this, environmental consultants and auditors from the ENVASS Group advise atmospheric emissions licence holders to approach compliance as a necessary step to ensure that their operations run smoothly and sustainably. Based on two decades of consulting to mining companies, ENVASS has documented common compliance and audit related oversights that licence holders should address to ensure that their reporting programmes remain effective, and their operations are compliant.

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