Wild Coast mining conflict continues
The acceptance of the scoping report for the environmental authorisation application for mining and associated listed activities in respect of the Wild Coast's Xolobeni is subject to a number of conditions. many of them pertaining to the National Water Act.
"A binding decision to halt mining activities has been made."
Community leaders from five coastal villages in the Amadiba area, who met in Xolobeni recently, took a binding decision to call a halt on all mining activities along the Wild Coast.
The meeting was facilitated by local members of the SAPS. Only a mass meeting at the Great Place of the affected coastal Amadiba area (TA Section 24) can change this binding decision.
The villagers were represented at the meeting by 25 leaders from the Traditional Council and the Amadiba Crisis Committee. Businessman Zamile Qunya and director of Xolco, Chief Lunga Baleni were among those representing the pro-mining faction. Transworld Energy and Minerals Resources (TEM), the South African subsidiary of an Australian company, MRC, has reapplied to mine a 22km stretch of coastline in the Xolobeni area. The dunes are believed to contain rich deposits of heavy minerals including titanium.
The meeting and subsequent decision followed an incident in May, when directors of Xolco and Blue Bantry, the black economic empowerment partners of MRC, tried to pass a community blockade in four vehicles. It was alleged that they were armed and that a man was injured when a gun was fired. There was also a report of a woman being hacked with a bush knife.
An interim interdict was issued by the High Court in Grahamstown on May 28. Five directors of MRC’s black economic empowerment partners, including Mr Qunya and Chief Baleni, were interdicted against bringing firearms to meetings and from intimidating the coastal Amadiba communities.The interim interdict is up in Umtata High Court on July 30.
The Department of Mineral Resources has accepted TEM’s scoping report for the environmental authorisation application for mining and associated listed activities in respect of the Xolobeni mining blocks of Mpahlane, Mnyameni, Kwanyana, Sikombe and Mtentu. This is however, subject to a number of conditions. many of them pertaining to the National Water Act.