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UK firm Searcher gets the nod for seismic survey off SA's West Coast

Geoscience data company Searcher, which was previously blocked from conducting a seismic survey off the West Coast, may get a second chance now that it has been granted environmental authorisation by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE). 

Last year West Coast fishing communities successfully blocked Searcher's first attempt at a survey through the courts on the grounds that the company had not adequately consulted interested and affected parties – the small-scale fishers.

Searcher's Robin Sutherland would later admit that there were "deficiencies" in the company's previous consultation processes. The company is headquartered in the UK.

Searcher in July 2022 published a notice of its second application for a survey. This time it would be conducted further from the coast (more than 200km) than the previous application, which was just 20km off the coast.

Below, is the process of submitting an appeal and all the relevant documentation required to file an official appeal.


Please include the project reference number 1518  in all correspondence.


An appeal must be submitted in writing in the prescribed appeal form (available below).


An extract from Chapter 2 of the National Appeals Regulations is presented below for your convenience:


4(1) An appellant must submit the appeal to the appeal administrator, and a copy of the appeal to the applicant, any registered interested and affected party and any organ of state with interest in the matter within 20 days from 06 Jan 2023

a)  the date that the notification of the decision for an application for an environmental authorisation or a waste management licence was sent to the registered interested and affected parties by the applicant; or

b)  the date that the notification of the decision was sent to the applicant by the competent authority, issuing authority or licensing authority, in the case of decisions other than those referred to in paragraph (a).


4(2) An appeal submission must be:

a) submitted in writing in the form obtainable from the appeal administrator (appeal form available below); and


b) accompanied by-
i. a statement setting out the grounds of appeal;
ii. supporting documentation which is referred to in the appeal submission; and
iii. a statement, including supporting documentation, by the appellant to confirm compliance with regulation 4(1) of these Regulations.



An appeal, including any supporting documentation, must be submitted to the Appeals Administrator, and copies sent to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (Head Office) and the Petroleum Agency SA whose contact details are presented below:


Appeal to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE)
• Attention: Directorate Appeals and Legal Review
• Email:
• By Post: Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001
• By Hand: Environmental House, Corner Steve Biko and Soutpansberg Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0083


Copy of the lodged appeal to the Petroleum SA
• Attention: The Chief Executive Officer
• Email:
• By post: Private Bag x 5111, Tygervalley, 7530


Copy of the lodged appeal to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE)
• Attention: Director: Legal Services
• Email:
• By Facsimile: 086 710 0877
• By Post: Private Bag x 59, Arcadia, 0007
• By Hand: Trevenna Campus, Building 2C, c/o Meintjies and Francis Baard Street, Sunnyside

Link to all necessary information can be found here:

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