Pro-miners threaten to use force

  Monday, 22 February 2016
 Judi Davis (South Coast Herald)
Pro-miners threaten to use force

Mining application: The proposed Xolobeni Mineral Sands project area is a 22km stretch of almost pristine Wild Coast shoreline.

"Xolobeni residents were told the mining company would “drill for water” in their area next week."

Mining application: The proposed Xolobeni Mineral Sands project area is a 22km stretch of almost pristine Wild Coast shoreline.

Amadiba Chief Lunga Baleni has warned residents of the coastal Amadiba area that force would be used if necessary to ensure that a mining company would be allowed to “drill for water” in their area.

The chief is a known proponent of the Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) Xolobeni Mineral Sands Wild Coast mining project. According to the Amadiba Crisis Committee, he told 400 residents at a recent meeting of the Traditional Authority of the coastal Amadiba that the mining company would come to Xolobeni to drill for water on Monday, February 22.

He then told headwoman Cynthia Baleni and members of her council that members of the pro-mining faction would use force to enter the area if the community tried to block them as it had done last year. However, the meeting replied to the chief that the miners would not be welcome, TEM, a South African subsidiary of the Australian mining company, Mineral Commodities, has reapplied to mine the pristine Xolobeni coast after its original application was turned down.

The mining controversy has divided the community into opposing pro- and anti-mining factions and has causes dissention among the Amadiba for more than ten years. It has even, from time to time, given rise to violence and even death threats. The Amadiba Crisis Committee was formed a number of years ago as a formal group opposing the mining.

Amadiba Crisis committee members Nonhle Mbuthuma and Mzamo Dlamini said they were also concerned about a letter sent to their lawyers, stating that TEM only recognised the authority of Chief Lunga over their area.“Amadiba Chief Lunga and his wife were made directors of TEM’s partner Xolco last year and now drive a company 4×4 vehicle. Since the chief’s appointment as a mining director, the Amadiba Traditional Authority has stopped functioning.

Chief Lunga now represents the Australian mining company and Sanral regarding the mining and coastal stretch of the proposed N2 Toll Road,” they said.The proposed Xolobeni Mineral Sands project area is a stretch of Wild Coast shoreline, about 22km long and 1.5km wide, between the Mzamba and Mtentu rivers.


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