Proposed road upgrade from R61 to Hluleka Nature Reserve

[img_assist|nid=482|title=Planned Hluleka tar road|desc=|link=none|align=center|width=379|height=323]

To register as an IAP, kindly contact:
Roxana Le Roux
Senior Environmental Consultant
Coastal & Environmental Services
Postnet Suite 95
Private Bag X 504
Tel: + 27 31 312 4800
Fax: + 27 31 312 5005

Project Description

The project is approximately 47 km long and 9.8m wide. The road is currently unpaved with a gravel wearing course.

The project will involve the upgrading of the road, where required, to a Class 3 (9.8m wide) bitumen surfaced cross section. All the envisaged roadworks will generally be contained within the limits of the existing road reserve however minor realignments will be required most notably near the Hlulekha Game Reserve.


Public hearings to resolve dispute on Wild Coast mining

[img_assist|nid=472|title=|desc=Photo (c) Neels Botma|link=popup|align=center|width=320|height=200]
September 30, 2008

By Samantha Enslin-Payne and Slindile Khanyile

Durban - The department of minerals and energy will hold public hearings on controversial mining on the Wild Coast after it decided recently to delay the issuing of the certificate that would have enabled Mineral Resource Commodities (MRC) and local subsidiary Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) to begin mining in the area next month.

Bheki Khumalo, the spokesperson for the department of minerals and energy, said yesterday that the intention to grant the mining licence remained, but the implementation had been delayed.

At the time of going to press MRC, which is listed on the Australian stock exchange, had yet to inform shareholders of the delay. The company's local representatives could not be reached for comment.

Minister puts licence to mine at Xolobeni on hold


29 September 2008
Franny Rabkin

A PROJECT to mine titanium in the Xolobeni region of Eastern Cape, granted to Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM), has been stopped in its tracks by Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica.

This after an internal appeal from a community organisation, the AmaDiba Crisis Committee, represented by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC).

The licence to mine, originally granted by the minerals and energy department, was supposed to come into effect at the end of next month.

But the committee appealed the licence, saying that it would change the community's traditional way of life and result in the forced eviction of people from their ancestral homes, loss of grazing land and relocation of their ancestral graves.

In its appeal, the committee said the consultation process TEM was obliged to undertake was flawed.

Pondoland reprieve?

  • Posted on: 25 September 2008
  • By: JB

 Hans Gieng, Derek Alberts
21 September 2008

COULD it be that justice is prevailing and that the Australian-led titanium mining project at Xolobeni on the Wild Coast will be shelved?

Notice to this effect surfaced when Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica admitted for the first time last week that the consultation process into the planned multi-billion rand project was “flawed”.

Her comments follow a heated meeting at Xolobeni, where AmaMpondo King Mpondomini Sigcau, through his lawyer, demanded that the mining licence be withdrawn and that a proper investigation into the project be conducted.

The regent made it clear that tourism is preferred over mining, prompting Sonjica to concede that “no proper procedures were taken”.

“Now I know things I did not know; something is not right, and I have to correct it,” she said.
The minister’s admission suggests that something is very wrong with the information flow to her department, and that Mineral Resources Commodities and its BEE partner, Xolobeni Empowerment Company, have plenty to answer for.

The truth is probably contained in the sentiments of the king who has been opposed to the project from the start: “The people who would benefit were politicians.”

Last word:
“RESPONSIBILITY does not only lie with the leaders of our countries, or those that have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually.” — His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

Minister admits consultation process ‘flawed’

[img_assist|nid=426|title=Strong words|desc=King Mpondomini Sigcau’s lawyer, Votani Majola, makes a point while addressing Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica. Picture: LUBABALO NGCUKANA|link=popup|align=right|width=320|height=213]

MINERALS and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has for the first time admitted that the consultation process into the planned multi-billion rand titanium mining project at Xolobeni on the Wild Coast was “flawed”.

Sonjica’s comment came after a heated meeting at Xolobeni on Friday, where AmaMpondo king Mpondomini Sigcau threw his weight behind the drive to stop the mining of pristine dunes in the area.

Speaking through his lawyer, Votani Majola, Sigcau said he chose tourism over mining, and demanded that the licence to mine the dunes be withdrawn. He also demanded that Sonjica institute an investigation into the planned mining project.

Online Petition against strip-mining the Wild Coast Please sign the online petition linked here before 19 September 2008: Online petitions are not really recognized by government, but are a valid indication of public opinion. If you possibly can, please also download, print, sign and submit the original petition: WHY MINING THE WILD COAST IS A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS By John G.I. Clarke The Department of Minerals and Energy has announced that it intends awarding a mining licence to Australian mining company MRC on 31 October 2008 to mine the Kwanyana Block of the Amadiba Tribal Administrative Area, on the Pondoland Wild Coast. This announcement has been made before the SA Human Rights Commission has completed its investigation into human rights violations lodged by local residents allegedly perpetrated by agents of MRC. If the Minister of Minerals and Energy signs the mining licence and Environmental Management Plan on 31 October, we believe it would be in gross violation of the Constitution of South Africa, notably the Environmental Right enshrined in Section 24 which states.....

ASX:MRC Financial Status

By ROBERT LAING (September 2008)
From a high of 28c last November, it appears the market still has no faith in MRC's prospects
THE Australian company given rights to strip-mine along the Wild Coast has reported heavy financial losses, and is facing legal battles that may cost it even more.

Mineral Commodities, whose chairman is Joseph Caruso, 61, and managing director Mark Caruso, 45, posted a R48million loss last year.

The Perth-based miner’s future hinges on two South African projects: the controversial Xolobeni on the Wild Coast and Tormin on the West Coast.

These it hopes to finance from its 5.7 percent stake in London AIM- listed Allied Gold, which operates mines in Papua New Guinea.

The latest facts emerging about the company have increased criticism that the Department of Minerals and Energy did not check the company’s financial standing thoroughly enough when it awarded the licence to mine in an environmental hot-spot .

The Times' Ben Travato takes on the sand...

7 September 2008

Rt Hon Madame Buyelwa Sonjica
Minister of Minerals and Energy
Private Bag X59
Pretoria 0001

Dear Minister,

Congratulations on your decision to allow the Australians to mine the Wild Coast. As a child, my parents would force me to accompany them on camping trips to Mtentu estuary. I look back on those times with hatred in my heart. I always seemed to have sand up my nose and a bluebottle down my bathing costume. The sun was too hot and the water too cold. Once a crab almost took off my foot, and I remember looking at the estuary and thinking that one day someone will come along and destroy you. And I will laugh.

Now, after all these years, I finally get to have my laugh. Thank you for that. You are a magnificent woman and I wouldn’t hesitate to marry you if we both weren’t married already.

SA Minister urged to reconsider permitting approval for Wild Coast mine

By: Christy van der Merwe
Published on 5th September 2008

A notice of appeal has been filed with the Minister of Minerals and Energy to suspend and appeal a decision to award a mining right to ASX-listed Mineral Commodities (MRC), to mine for titanium-bearing minerals at the Xolobeni project area, along a portion of South Africa’s Wild Coast.

The Notice of Appeal was filed by the Grahamstown office of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), on behalf of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), a group of local residents in opposition to mining.

The Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica had until October 1, 2008, to respond and, if this did not happen, the LRC, if instructed by the ACC, would proceed to the High Court to try and get the mining licence set aside.

The mining right was granted by the Department of Minerals and Energy in early August. The Environmental Management Plan was expected to be signed on October 31, when the licence would become official.

Xolobeni mining 'can't be stopped'

YOLANDI GROENEWALD - Aug 28 2008 06:00

Thirteen years ago a strong environmental campaign saved the St Lucia dunes from being mined. This time the Minerals and Energy Department will not be swayed by public opinion, a senior official told the Mail & Guardian this week.

"The St Lucia decision was a political decision that had the ANC's support," said Jacinto Rocha, department deputy director-general. "At Xolobeni it is significantly different."

The region, one of the poorest in South Africa, needs mining desperately, Rocha said, explaining last month's decision to grant Australian company Mineral Commodities the right to strip-mine a 22km stretch on the Wild Coast.

"People argue that ecotourism is the best option for the people there, but where has ecotourism ever attracted major investment?" Rocha said. "Mining helps to pay the Kruger Park's electricity bills. Without the capital that mining brings, you couldn't have parks like Kruger."

Media Statement: Amadiba Coastal Residents

The community objected strongly to Minister Sonjica’s statement that Richard Spoor was responsible for ‘destabilising the community’ and for playing the race card to try to discredit highly competent professionals who are working with the community.

Nonhle Mbutuma added that in a country that is still healing from years of racial [img_assist|nid=396|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=320|height=218]oppression, such statements are not helpful and only serve to distract attention from the real issues. “Her comments are an insult to us as much as to white South Africans, as they try to make out that we are incapable of thinking and acting for ourselves”.


26 August 2008.

Questions hover over Wild Coast mining deal

  • Posted on: 15 August 2008
  • By: JB

Some have been arguing from the outset that the valuation of $18 million which Xolco have to pay for their 26% stake (minimum BEE criteria) was baseless, and proved that no negotiation took place with truly affected parties; as they obviously never took negotiable access rights and royalties into account.

Yet Ehlobo Heavy Minerals, the original BEE partners who walked away from the deal because of environmental issues and other implications, were only going to pay a third of that price for their majority stake.

Read TFA from Business Report:

Questions hover over Wild Coast mining deal
August 14, 2008


There are perplexing questions around last week's granting of mining rights in a 7km stretch of pristine coastline at Xolobeni, part of the Wild Coast that would be most inaccurately named were heavy metal extraction to proceed.

In fact, there are so many questions that the department of minerals and energy may be wishing that the application for prospecting rights had never landed on its desk some years back.

The decision to award mining rights to the local subsidiary of Perth-based Mineral Commodities (MRC) is likely to set in motion a legal challenge from the anti-mining lobby that may involve questioning the constitutionality of legislation that provides for new-order mining rights.

Not since the battle for St Lucia was waged by conservationists in the early 1990s has a mining application received so much opposition - this time from a cross section of interest groups, including community representatives, traditional leaders, environmental groups and the department of environmental affairs and tourism, which prefers ecotourism for an area that contains more plant species than the UK.

The minerals and energy department, on the other hand, appears more interested in Xolobeni's description as one of the 10 largest mineral sand resources in a world hungry for minerals such as titanium (although this is disputed by some geologists).

It might be interested in protecting itself from litigation - ironically enough, from MRC. When the department granted MRC prospecting rights for four blocks at Xolobeni in 2005, it appeared to be unaware that part of this 22km of coastline fell within a protected coastal reserve designated by Bantu Holomisa, the ex-leader of the apartheid-era Transkei homeland.

The existence of the protected area would certainly have come to the department's attention last year, when the appeal court upheld the reserve's status by ruling against 16 cottage owners in the area.

The department's decision to award mining rights in just one of the four blocks - the one that falls outside of the reserve and is deemed the least environmentally sensitive - appears to acknowledge the pickle it now finds itself in. There is speculation that granting MRC these partial mining rights is an attempt to prevent a lawsuit to reclaim the company's prospecting costs from the state, which some estimate at tens of millions of dollars.

But the decision leaves the state open to litigation from the anti-mining lobby. If the original prospecting licence was flawed, then it would seem logical that the mining licence on which it was based would be too.

The department has yet to explain why it granted an application with such obvious shortcomings, chief among them blatant disregard for community participation.

The Human Rights Commission concludes in a report released last year that the Xolobeni community was not adequately consulted and that a vast majority of people are against the mining. Since then, allegations have surfaced of intimidation and fraud relating to a pro-mining petition.

The Xolobeni project is touted as a potentially suitable case to take to the constitutional court to test mining legislation against constitutional provisions that lay the basis for state expropriation of land.

There are disturbing aspects related to MRC's empowerment partner, Xolco, which replaced Ehlobo Heavy Minerals when it walked away from the deal. The R135 million that Xolco is touted to pay for its 26 percent stake is nearly three times as much as Ehlobo was to have paid for a majority stake. There is no evidence in a shareholders' agreement that Xolco, which has strong connections to local politicians, will transfer dividends to locals as claimed.

( Source: )

Petition against strip mining on the Wild Coast!

Please download, print, sign and submit this petition: The contents of the petition follow below. Please also add your comment on this site using the add comment link below this article. WHY MINING THE WILD COAST IS A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS By John G.I. Clarke The Department of Minerals and Energy has announced that it intends awarding a mining licence to Australian mining company MRC on 31 October 2008 to mine the Kwanyana Block of the Amadiba Tribal Administrative Area, on the Pondoland Wild Coast. This announcement has been made before the SA Human Rights Commission has completed its investigation into human rights violations lodged by local residents allegedly perpetrated by agents of MRC. If the Minister of Minerals and Energy signs the mining licence and Environmental Management Plan on 31 October, we believe it would be in gross violation of the Constitution of South Africa, notably the Environmental Right enshrined in Section 24 which states.....

DME grants right to Australian MRC to strip mine at Xolobeni

The Democratic Alliance says it is disappointed by the decision of the Department of Minerals and Energy Affairs to grant a mining right to Mineral Resource Commodities (MRC) to mine a portion of the Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project.

"The site of this mining right is along the Wild Coast, one of the world's most important biodiversity hotspots," said Gareth Morgan, the party's environment spokesperson, on Tuesday

Morgan said while it was true the area in which the right to mining had been granted was one of the most impoverished places in South Africa, at best, only a few hundred jobs will be created from the mining. He said the potential to create new jobs in the eco-tourism sector -- which, along an unspoiled coastline would have far exceeded the opportunities created by mining -- might now be diminished.

Morgan said he feared that additional rights could be granted in the near future to increase the area that was to be mined.

Xolobeni community says NO to mining!

  • Posted on: 21 July 2008
  • By: JB

Hundreds of people walked from Wild Coast Sun to meet the people of Xolobeni.

Despite the pro-mining lobby tricking many members into not attending (by announcing a food-basket handout for the same day) it is apparent that the community, as represented by hundreds of people present, sangomas and the headman, are totally opposed to the strip mining of 22km of their pristine grassland and dunes.

In fact they have threatened to revolt, like the Pondo Uprising of 1960, if the government grants the mining license.

These pictures do very little to convey the beauty and incredible historic / archeological value of this portion of the irreplaceable Pondoland Center of Endemism.

Benny the Tour Guide can be contacted on 079-1985 975 / or through Sonya on 074-336 7862 - for a guided day-trip.

See for yourself why we must protect our children's ecological heritage.


Elder & NonthleHeadman & community elder

Xolobeni solidarity march - 20 July 2008

Holiday makers and South Coast Residents are invited to join a Spring Tide Beach March on Sunday 20th July from the Wild Coast Sun resort to Nyameni Estuary, to show their solidarity with the five communities of the Amadiba Tribal Area on the Pondoland Wild Coast who vehemently oppose the dune mining venture.

The next suitable spring low tide will occur on Sunday, 20th July 2008. All are invited to join a solidarity walk confirming our concern about mining, and our support for local eco tourism - starting from the Wild Coast Sun at 7.30am to either the petrified forest at the Mzamba River mouth 4km, or Mlulwane Estuary - 9 km or Mnyamene - 18km (distances are total out and back) and see for yourself just how special our Wild Coast is and just why we must all do everything we can to ensure that it is sustainably conserved for future generations.

Participants need to cater for their own drinks and food for the walk.


Map of the Wild Coast

SLINGSBY MAPS have detailed and accurate maps covering all the major scenic routes in South Africa available for online order at

Wild Coast Map: The fully detailed, GPS-compatible, waterproof map of the entire Wild Coast, from which this inset is taken, is widely available from bookshops and sports stores in most major centers, and numerous Wild Coast resorts. The retail price is around R135 (c. 2014) for the waterproof  version, and can be purchased on-line at

"Your Wild Coast map - it's magnificent" -Don Pinnock, Editor, GETAWAY Magazine.

"Truly an excellent map..." -Jeff Pieres, Historian.

"A MUST-HAVE for travellers in the area" -Janna Cooper, Strandloper Ecotourism Board.

Wild Coast receives R50 million for conservation

18 May 2008

ONE of the country’s most pristine areas – the Wild Coast – will receive a cash boost of close to R50 million over the next five years in a bid to conserve the area.
The Wild Coast project, with funding through the United Nations, seeks to establish an effective network of protected areas along one of South Africa’s most scenic routes.

Facilitated by Eastern Cape Parks (ECP) the project plans to: