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The National Heritage Resource Act (1999): Can legislation protect South Africa's rare geoheritage resources?


  • Cairncross, Bruce


In South Africa, rare geological specimens are protected by the National Heritage Resource Act (1999). These portable geoheritage objects are neither defined nor described in this Act making their geoheritage status questionable. Thirteen categories and criteria for establishing a geological specimen's rarity status are discussed and include (1) rarity as defined by abundance per se; (2) rarity of a particular habit (external shape or form) of a mineral; (3) rare pseudomorphs; (4) rarity of a particular variety of a mineral; (5) rarity of a particular colour of a common mineral; (6) rarity defined by size; (7) rarity defined by quality; (8) a common species, but rare for a particular locality; (9) rarity of associations of minerals; (10) rarity determined by source being depleted, exhausted or mined out; (11) rare inclusions in minerals; (12) previously rare, now common specimens and (13) miscellaneous criteria that produce rare specimens. Geological specimens (resources) are complex objects when defining their rarity status and multiple rarity factors can apply to single specimens. A lack of clear criteria for defining rare geological specimens appears to place the National Heritage Resource Act (1999) in direct conflict with the more recent Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (2002) which legitimizes the legal exploitation of any mineral resource.

Suggested Citation

  • Cairncross, Bruce, 2011. "The National Heritage Resource Act (1999): Can legislation protect South Africa's rare geoheritage resources?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 204-213, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:3:p:204-213

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stijns, Jean-Philippe C., 2005. "Natural resource abundance and economic growth revisited," Resources Policy, Elsevier, pages 107-130.
    2. Cameron, Gavin & Muellbauer, John, 1998. "The Housing Market and Regional Commuting and Migration Choices," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, pages 420-446.
    3. Holmes, Thomas J. & Stevens, John J., 2004. "Spatial distribution of economic activities in North America," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 63, pages 2797-2843 Elsevier.
    4. Eric Maskin & John Moore, 1999. "Implementation and Renegotiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, pages 39-56.
    5. Aroca, Patricio, 2001. "Impacts and development in local economies based on mining: : the case of the Chilean II region," Resources Policy, Elsevier, pages 119-134.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "The Geographic Concentration of Industry: Does Natural Advantage Explain Agglomeration?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 311-316.
    7. Rabah Arezki & Frederik van der Ploeg, 2007. "Can the Natural Resource Curse Be Turned Into a Blessing? The Role of Trade Policies and Institutions," IMF Working Papers 07/55, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Dusan Paredes & Patricio Aroca, 2008. "Metodología para Estimar un Indice Regional de Costo de Vivienda en Chile," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 45(131), pages 129-143.
    9. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
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    1. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:103-108 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ruban, Dmitry A., 2012. "Geoconservation versus legislation and resources policy: New achievements, new questions—Comment on Cairncross (Resources Policy, 2011) The National Heritage Resource Act (1999): Can legislation prote," Resources Policy, Elsevier, pages 126-129.


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