Xolobeni mining update

Latest news:

On Wednesday, 2012-08-08 the Amadiba Crisis Committee filed an Objection against the prospecting right application made by Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources SA:


The objection was filed jointly by the ACC and Sun International, which operates the Wild Coast Sun resort adjacent to the proposed mining area.

* TEM is ineligible for a new grant of prospecting rights because their application is redundant: they have already prospected the site, and are therefore merely attempting to hoard the rights. This transparent ploy creates more uncertainty and directly impedes development of the tourism potential in and through the area;

* Prospecting and mining activities cannot take place in the Xolobeni region at all because it is within an already designated Marine Protected Area (MPA). The tiny Pondoland Centre of Endemism (PCE), where the mining is proposed, is the second most florastically abundant region in Southern Africa, and one of only 26 such species rich places on earth;

* Mining the area will lead to unacceptable environmental and social harm. The objection clearly states the inevitable outcome of the limited short-term capital gain operations versus the long-term (infinite) sustainability of eco-tourism: Mining will irreversibly degrade the ecology, sense of place, and appeal of the area.

* The community will be displaced. The unacceptable outcomes of strip-mining include, inter-alia:

1. Forced eviction from their ancestral lands:
2. Loss of access to farmland for both crops and livestock, leading to subsequent loss of income, means of subsistence, and way of life;
3. Decreased viability of subsistence agriculture and fishing due to dust fallout;
4. Risk to irrigation from declining ground water sources;
5. Relocation/destruction of ancestral graves;
6. Destruction of culturally important archaeological sites;
7. Loss of current tourism and potential eco-tourism opportunities in the area, as Kwanyana camp, which is pivotal for accessing trails, will not be able to be used by tourists for lifetime of the mine; and
8. Irreversible damage to residents' sense of place, which is closely associated with unspoiled character and traditional use of the land.

9. Basically, irreversible degradation to the environment for a short term gain of $6 billion.

Please sign our petition at www.causes.com/wildcoast for the Wild Coast to be declared a "no-go" area for mining once and for all.

Awesome SA: Screw Business as Usual

Yes to Eco-TourismYes to Eco-Tourismwww.awesomesa.co.za
South Africa is a country that has lived through one of the most frightening, riveting, and inspiring political revolutions in history. Real radical change faces each one of us every day. How do we deal with the mistrust that has crept in among our people from years of separation and confrontation?

Richard Branson in his book – Screw Business As Usual – says:

"We've a chance to take a shot at really working together to turn upside down the way we approach the challenges we are facing in the world and to look at them in a brand new, entrepreneurial way. Never has there been a more exciting time for all of us to explore this great next frontier where the boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one, where doing good really is good for business."

Awesome SA supports an organisation called Sustaining the Wild Coast.

Sustaining the Wild Coast's (SWC) focuses on assisting traditional rural communities living along Pondoland's Wild Coast, in the northern coastal regions of the former Transkei of South Africa's Eastern Cape Province, to create a positive future for themselves. You can view the SWC Awesome SA article here.

SWC works with Wild Coast communities to find sustainable solutions that improve local livelihood prospects, while respecting local cultural traditions and maintaining the wealth of natural biodiversity and unique ‘sense of place’ that the Wild Coast is re-known for. One of SWC's focus area's involves promoting public awareness about issues and concerns affecting the Wild Coast and its residents, through articles and news reports and by assisting and encouraging journalists, writers and film-makers to provide in-depth and well-informed coverage of topics concerning the area.

Two recent developments causing much concern for local people are ongoing proposals to open cast mining in the area, and the proposed routing of a tolled highway, a new extension to the existing N2 national road, through the region. SWC's dedicated Too Great a Toll fund is helping Wild Coast communities with resources to legally challenge the government's approval of the N2 ‘Wild Coast’ tolled highway. The Wild Coast communities are legally challenging the lack of proper consultation and other serious legal deficiencies in the N2 proposals Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Red Sands of XolobeniRed Sands of Xolobeni

In Richard Branson's Screw Business as Usual, he is calling for people to turn capitalism upside down – to shift our values, to switch from a profit focus to caring for people, communities and the planet. He inspires both businesses and individuals to embark on a whole new way of doing things, solving major problems and turning our work into something we both love and are proud of.

Imagine if those driving the open cast mining and the building of a tolled highway - through one of the most pristine and unique wild areas of South Africa - would alternatively put their money into the following areas. Support the people who live on the Wild Coast in maintaining their cultural and ecological heritage, as Sustaining the Wild Coast is doing, with the following projects:-

  • Skills development, mentorship, leadership and entrepreneurial development programmes.
  • Skilling local residents and schools in permaculture cultivation methods, knowledge of indigenous plants, establishing indigenous plant nurseries and food gardens, and addressing and reversing environmental degradation.
  • Promoting eco-tourism development initiatives along the Wild Coast which includes training hiking guides, establishing guided hikes, helping local people set up community based ‘homestays’ and networking with other eco-tourism development organisations to promote responsible eco-tourism.
  • Assisting Wild Coast communities with advocacy, legal representation and specialist advice to enable them to 'own their future'.

    Daily Sun - 17 September 2008: Click on the pic to view the article.Daily Sun - 17 September 2008: Click on the pic to view the article.

    Awesome SA is calling on South Africans who value and are proud of our country, to support the rural communities living on the Pondoland Wild Coast. We are calling for support from all areas of the globe and ask that you add your voices to the call of the Pondoland people.

    Sustaining the Wild Coast needs support, because you know what... the future is not a place that we are going to go; it’s a place that we are going to create. Please reference Too Great A Toll when making donations to assist the Pondoland people in funding the legal challenge to sustain the Wild Coast. More details can be found on the SWC website www.swc.org.za. You can follow SWC on Twitter - @SWCOAST & on Facebook - SustainingtheWildCoast.


    Wild Coast Fund Raising CalendarWild Coast Fund Raising Calendar

    Click here to order!


    Mining of the Wild Coast dunes

    The 'Greenfields' section of the N2 Toll road through Pondoland

    Funds raised by your purchase of this calendar go to support residents of Pondoland's Wild Coast, in their ongoing battle to protect and conserve their living landscapes and prevent the shredding of their social fabric by the two massive development schemes.

    They need support to gain access to information and effective legal representation in their planned court challenge, over government`s failure to engage them in open and transparent decision making about the N2 Wild Coast `Troll` Road, and the award of mining rights for the Xolobeni mineral sands. The `developments` will benefit cash-rich outsiders and be paid for by cash-poor rural residents and the natural environment.

    This is more than just a calendar.
    It is a collaborative work of art that magnifies the spectacular natural beauty of the place and amplifies the heartfelt convictions of the people on how development decisions ought to be made in a democratic society.

    Calendar Details
    . A3 wall calendar with wiro binding
    . Beautiful photographs taken by world renowned environmental photographer, Cheryl Alexander

    Page a month with challenging quotes from traditional leaders, elected local political representatives and youth activists.

    Xolobeni mining update

    It is well known by now that the minister of minerals & energy revoked the mining license, granted to MRC and their local subsidiary Xolco in 2008, at the beginning of the month.

    However the door is still ajar and we await the outcome in 3 months time.

    The applicants have until then to resubmit properly completed environmental impact assessments, a full environmental management plan, and to comply fully with the various requirements of affected government departments.

    In the interim, MRC's (Mineral Resource Commodities - ASX:MRC) share price seems fairly stable and essentially unchanged, hovering around 8c, Australian. But will they risk the further expenditure?

    DMR releases Xolobeni report

    JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has released the ‘Holomisa Report’, which advises Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on the Xolobeni mining right appeal.

    The mining right was awarded to Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) in 2008, for the Kwanyana block of mineral sands on the Wild Coast.

    Although dated March 2010, the report was only released on January 31. The DMR said that the delay in taking a decision on the report was owing to “administrative processes and pressures within the department”.

    Wild Coast plans show preference for mining

    Central planning 1-2-3: mining, road, power: Click on the map for full size view (1.5Mb)Central planning 1-2-3: mining, road, power: Click on the map for full size view (1.5Mb)

    From: www.iol.co.za
    February 8, 2011
    By Ingi Salgado

    For some time, the state has withheld two pieces of information with significance for mining along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. Under much pressure, the government has now released both.

    Both documents are shocking, but taken together, they paint a cynical picture of a potentially concerted effort to engineer an economically viable dispensation for mining on the Wild Coast Power to the mining!: running parallel to the planned N2 routePower to the mining!: running parallel to the planned N2 routewith scant regard for communities and environment.

    The first document came in the form of the terms of reference issued by roads agency Sanral to an environmental consultancy for the proposed N2 toll highway, which hugs the coastal sites that prospective miners are eyeing. The terms of reference specifically instruct the consultant to provide “a strong motivation for excluding the R61 and current N2 as options”.

    Imagine the outrage if the assessment for a fictional new highway between Durban and Johannesburg was not compared with the impact of upgrading the N3.

    That we even have sight of these terms of reference is thanks to Cullinan & Associates, which applied under the Promotion of Access to Information Act. It acts for the Sigidi, Baleni and Mdatya communities, the Khimbili Property Association and residents in the amaDiba tribal authority.

    The law firm first successfully opposed environmental authorisation for the proposed N2 highway in 2004, sending Sanral back to the drawing board.

    Senior director Cormac Cullinan says: “It’s indisputable that if the new road doesn’t go ahead, it will have a major impact on the financial viability of mines... That’s a strong reason why they didn’t want to consider the existing route.”

    The toll road appeal is now with the Department of Environmental Affairs. Cullinans alleges Sanral appears to have intended to mislead the minister because the agency initially denied its consultant had been specifically excluded from considering certain alternatives.

    The second document to come to light is the nearly year-old report by Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA chief Patekile Holomisa, who led a task team assessing the award of a 2008 mining right to Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources to mine titanium on the Kwanyana block of Xolobeni on the Wild Coast.

    The Department of Mineral Resources finally made Holomisa’s report public last week, and it is rather instructive. It points out that Transworld indicated a feasibility study would be carried out “as soon as the mining right is formally granted” – whereas the law requires proof that the mineral can be mined optimally. The report asks whether Transworld was allowed to dictate the processing of the application.

    It also points out the mining right was granted without an environmental impact assessment, environmental management plan or further attention given to any of the department’s own stated requirements.

    There was no study of the benefits of mining versus ecotourism and issues raised by the Department of Environmental Affairs were not addressed. The Department of Mineral Resources opted to reconvene the task team, which will hold hearings in Durban this month.

    There is a third leg to the saga, a legal wrangle over the Commission for Traditional Leadership’s decision to dislodge amaPondo King Mpondombini Sigcau from the throne. Webber Wentzel says “a gross injustice to (our) clients appears to have been done, which cannot go unchallenged”.

    Is it a coincidence that the deposed royals oppose both the Xolobeni mining and the N2 toll road?

    More hearings on Xolobeni mine scheduled for Feb

    By: Christy van der Merwe

    26th January 2011

    JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A second task team would be established to hear oral presentations by parties affected by the proposed heavy minerals mine in Xolobeni, which is located on the South African Wild Coast.

    The hearings would be held at the Department of Mineral Resources’ (DMR’s) Durban regional office from February 16 to February 18.

    The task team would then make recommendations to Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, on whether or not to uphold the granting of the licence to mine the Kwanyana block of mineral-rich sands near Xolobeni, or to rescind the licence – as per the appeal from certain community members.

    Australia-based Mineral Resource Commodities, through its South African subsidiary Transworld Energy & Minerals, was granted a licence to mine for titanium-bearing minerals on a portion of the dunes, in December 2008.

    The Kwanyana block contains some 139-million tons of heavy titanium-producing minerals, including ilmenite, zircon, leucoxene, and rutile. Of the four blocks making up the Xolobeni project area, the Kwanyana block had the largest measured resource.

    The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) then appealed the awarding of the licence in early 2009, stating that the community was not properly consulted.

    In February 2010, the Minerals and Mining Development board, which advises the Minister of Mineral Resources, appointed a committee headed by Phatekile Holomisa, which received documentation from affected parties, and compiled a report, which it submitted to the Minister.

    No further information was given about the report, affected parties requested sight of it but have never seen it.

    The DMR, in January, stated that the Holomisa report was merely an interim report, which did not contain any firm recommendations on the merit or demerit of the appeals.

    It was described as an “interim measure that addressed procedure rather than substance”, and recommended that other stakeholders be afforded the opportunity to provide input to a panel to finalise the appeal.

    “Our clients are extremely concerned that it has taken almost a year from the time the Holomisa task team made its recommendations to the Minister for her to come to a decision, and then only to decide to hold further hearings. The panel that is to hear the matter has still not been constituted and the Minister appears not to have applied her mind to the appeal at all,” said Legal Resources Centre (LRC) representative Sarah Sephton.

    The Grahamstown-based LRC is representing the ACC.

    The DMR was currently in the process of inviting nominations for new panel members, and the panel would be headed by the DMR legal services director, as the chairperson.

    The panel would consist of: an environmental expert nominated by the DMR, a nominated official from the DMR Mineral Regulation branch, an environmental expert nominated by the Department of Environmental Affairs, a representative nominated by the Department of Land Affairs, a representative nominated by the Provincial Department of Economic Affairs, Eastern Cape, a representative nominated by the OR Tambo district municipality, and a representative nominated by the Bizana municipality.

    MRC South Africa GM John Barnes confirmed that the company had been informed of the new hearings through a letter from the DMR, and also that the company had not been informed of any recommendations put forward in the first report.

    Barnes added that while the company awaited the DMR decision on the granting of the Xolobeni licence, it was moving ahead with its Tormin mineral sands project on the west coast of South Africa.

    Sephton stated that the delays were prejudicial to the LRC’s clients.

    “In the meantime, our clients are still unable to make any use of the land in question. Prior to the grant of the prospecting licence, an important eco-tourism project was under way in the Xolobeni area. Since then, however, all efforts to further this project have been unsuccessful and our clients have suffered important financial losses as a result,” she explained.

    She added that the harmony within the community has also suffered as conflicts have emerged between the proponents of the mining initiative and those who favour the eco-tourism plan as a means to develop the region.

    “There can be no healing until a final decision is made. These lengthy and unexplained delays have marked this entire process and are quite frankly ludicrous,” Sephton exclaimed.

    Posted on January 31st, 2011

    Latest developments in the Wild Coast Mining and N2 Toll rd saga

    The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) and Legal Resource Centre (LRC) demands decision from the department “by no later than 28 September 2010”, failing which the matter will be taken to High Court.

    Social worker John Clarke has provided the following summary of developments, and opinion.

    Xolobeni Mining 
    We are still waiting for DG of Mineral Resources, Sandile Nogcina, to announce the outcome of the appeal by the Amadiba Crisis Committee.  It has been over two years since the appeal was lodged.

    Revoke mining right

    By John GI Clark

    Stephan Hofstatter’s report on the shenanigans surrounding the Wild Coast mining saga refers (Transkei dead’s nod to dune deal, March 5). So it is at the discretion of the minister whether or not to revoke a mining right, even when there is clear evidence of a fraud having been perpetrated to secure a mining right by the holders thereof.

    The latest evidence of fraudulently obtained lists of people, many of whom are long deceased, on “certificates” stating their free and informed consent for the Xolobeni Mining venture on the Wild Coast, provides Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu with a more than adequate basis to revoke the mining right immediately.

    Transkei Dead's Nod to Dune Deal

    By Stephan Hofstatter

    Johannesburg — EVIDENCE of misrepresentation has emerged in papers submitted in an application that led to a decision by the Department of Mineral Resources to allow titanium mining on the environmentally sensitive Wild Coast.

    If proved, the disclosures could jeopardise plans by Australian company Mineral Commodities (MRC) and its empowerment partner, Xolco, to extract heavy metals worth an estimated R11bn from the coastal dunes of the Transkei.

    Xolobeni Hearing - Canceled

    By: Christy van der Merwe
    10th February 2010

    The hearings involving interested parties appealing a decision to grant Transworld Energy Minerals (TEM) a licence to mine heavy minerals from the dunes near Xolobeni on the Wild Coast, scheduled to take place this week, were cancelled.

    The committee of four people, which was appointed by the Mining and Minerals Board to oversee the presentations from all parties involved, could not proceed because it had not received the necessary documentation from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).

    Committee chairperson Pathekile Holomisa told Mining Weekly Online that it had now received the documentation, which it would go through, and would decide in March whether or not hearings into the matter in fact needed to take place.

    "Ultimately, our piece would be to advise the Minister, either to proceed with granting the license, or cancel or withdraw it, but that depends on our understanding of the issue. And we shall also decide whether there is a need to invite more oral presentations or not," he explained.

    Grahamstown-based Legal Resources Centre (LRC) representative Sarah Sephton said that the cancellation of the hearings was "completely unsatisfactory', as the LRC had made the effort to submit its volumes of documentation on time to the DMR.

    She added that the LRC, as well as representatives from the mining company TEM, and the company's black economic-empowerment partner, Xolco, travelled to the KwaZulu-Natal DMR offices for the scheduled hearings "at great cost", only to be told that hearings were not going to take place.

    The LRC represented the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), which was appealing the mining right, which the former Minerals and Energy Minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, granted in August 2008.

    The LRC stated that one of the grounds for the appeal was that the mining right was granted to the Australia-based mining junior without sufficient and reasonable consultation with the Xolobeni community as an interested and affected party.

    On September 28, 2009, the LRC submitted two expert reports to the Minister in support of the appeal to set aside the mining right. One of the reports provided that the heavy minerals mining operations planned by TEM had been discontinued in other jurisdictions, such as Australia and New Zealand.

    Resolution on whether or not the licence to mine for titanium-bearing minerals would, in fact, be granted was expected by June 2009, however, little clarity on the matter had emerged.

    Edited by: Mariaan Webb


    Amadiba Crisis Committee submission to DME

    The Legal Resources Centre's submission to DME on behalf of the ACC and Xolobeni community is rather long-winded and dry; but also interesting, and thoroughly convincing:



    Appeal/review instituted by:


    Directed to:



    Strong public opinion against mining Xolobeni

    2 Recent print articles, which only appeared in the Daily Dispatch Online today, have already been published in the Weekend Post and on other environmental sites; proving conclusively that public perception is strongly against the mining:

    The stories have been published at



    and are also reproduced in full below:

    THE granting of a mining licence to Australian mining group Transworld Energy Minerals (TEM) to mine heavy minerals on the pristine dunes at Xolobeni on the Wild Coast was “clearly improper and ought to be withdrawn”.

    Xolobeni Hearing: 8 - 10 February 2010

    LRC to make oral submissions on behalf of the Amadiba Crisis Committee at Xolobeni.

    On 8, 9 and 10 February 2010, the Minerals and Mining Development Board will receive oral submissions on behalf of interested parties involved in the appeal against the Minister’s decision to grant a mining right to Transworld Energy Minerals (TEM) at Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape. The Board will then make recommendations to the Minister of Minerals and Energy.

    The LRC will be representing the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) who are appealing the granting of the mining right. One of the grounds for the appeal is that the mining right was granted to TEM without sufficient and reasonable consultation with the Xolobeni community as an interested and affected party. Counsel for the ACC Advocates Gilbert Marcus (SC) and Isabel Goodman will be submitting written heads of argument that will be made available to interested parties.

    Recently, on 28 September 2009, the LRC submitted two expert reports to the Minister on behalf of the ACC. The reports were in support of the ACC’s appeal to the Minister to set aside the mining right. One of the reports provided that the heavy mineral mining operations planned by TEM have been discontinued in other jurisdictions such as Australia and New Zealand. TEM is a subsidiary of the Australian group Mineral
    Resources Commodities (MRC).

    The details of the hearing are as follows:

    Date: 8, 9 and 10 February 2010
    Time: 8 February (12h00 to 16h00), 9 and 10 February (9h30 to 15h00)
    Venue: Department of Mineral Resources KZN Regional Office
    333 Durban Bay House
    Smith Street

    For further information contact:

    Legal Resources Centre
    Sarah Sephton

    Check out these film clips that have been made about the amaPondo people’s battle against the mining proposal:


    LRC submits expert evidence against mining in Xolobeni

    2 October 2009

    LRC submits expert evidence against mining in Xolobeni

    On 28 September 2009 the Grahamstown office of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) submitted two expert reports to the Minister of Minerals and Energy on behalf of the AmaDiba Crisis Committee (ACC). The reports were in support of the ACC’s appeal to the Minister to set aside the mining right granted to Transworld Energy Minerals(TEM) at Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape.

    One of the reports compiled by Jan Meyer, a soil fertility expert, provides that the heavy mineral mining operations planned by TEM have been discontinued in other jurisdictions such as Australia and New Zealand. TEM is a subsidiary of the Australian group Mineral Resources Commodities (MRC).

    The report states that ‘a significant amount of heavy mineral mining previously took place along the East Coast of Australia, New South Wales. However many of the mining operations in New South Wales have been asked to desist.’

    The report also lists 10 reasons why the mining operations in New South Wales have been discontinued and describes several of them as relevant to the proposed mining at Xolobeni.

    This means that TEM seeks to legitimise operations in South Africa regardless of their negative impact. The intended mining will adversely affect the traditional way of life of the Xolobeni community, some of whom have occupied the land for centuries, and will irreparably damage the coastline.

    This matter began on 2 September 2008, when the ACC made an application to appeal/review the decision in terms of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002. The basis for the appeal/review is that the mining right was granted to TEM without sufficient and reasonable consultation with the Xolobeni community as an interested and affected party.

    It is not known when the Minister will reconsider the decision to grant the licence but the Department has announced that the appeal/review will take place.

    For further information contact the Legal Resources Centre:

    Sarah Sephton

    For some background on the status of the appeal, please see this Mining Weekly article from March this year. It's great to see Creamer Media batting for our team.

    Our Shoreline on SABC2

    A spectacular glimpse of the Wild Coast.

    Available from http://www.impactvideo.co.za/prod_det.asp?ID=1520

    Shoreline is a South African documentary series commissioned by SABC 2. It is a multidisciplinary showcase of all the unique and diverse features along our coastline – geology, paleontology, history, settlement patterns, marine biology, ecology etc.

    One of the main features of this series is that it is presented by a team of specialist presenters – archaeologist Gavin Whitelaw, historian Nomalanga Mkhize and marine biologist Eleanor Yeld. Anchor presenter Peter Butler and his dog Nujack guide our experts on the journey around the coast.

    Shoreline consists of 13 episodes and in each episode we visit a stretch of coastline to get a sense of its character and stories to help build a picture of our unique coastline. We reveal how natural wonders and historic events have shaped the lives of coastal communities.’

    The Shoreline DVD box set will be available after the series ends on 12 October 2009. SABC will also be giving away several DVD box sets of the series. See www.ourshoreline.co.za for competition details.

    Episode Ten of Shoreline, on Monday the 14'th, features the Wild Coast from Cove Rock (East London) to Port Grosvenor. Click here: Episode Ten for an overview.

    "This untamed wilderness is filled with rolling green hills and unspoilt beaches, secluded bays fringed with wild banana trees, tranquil lagoons and dense coastal forests, deeply carved valleys and precipitous cliffs where waterfalls plummet into the sea.

    Violent storms and monstrous waves sometimes batter the coast, and many ships have met an untimely end here. Ancient myths and legends are rife, and the diverse peoples represent a rich cultural heritage. This is a shoreline truly deserving of its name – the Wild Coast."

    Red Sands of XolobeniRed Sands of XolobeniEpisode Eleven, On Monday the 21'st, will explore Mkambati to Amanzimtoti, including the Pondoland Centre of Endemism and the threatened Xolobeni area. See Episode Eleven for more info.

    "A recent study of the flora of four sites in the PC has revealed 2253 different species, of which 196 were endemic to the PC. This level of floral diversity is truly impressive, considering that the whole of Great Britain contains only about 1400 species. Species density in the PC is also exceptionally high, with about 2500 species in 1900 km2 – compared to about 9 000 species in 90 000 km2 in the Cape Flora. Scientifically, the PC has been comparatively poorly surveyed, and new plant species are continually being discovered. The region is particularly rich in woody endemics, and contains more than 30 endemic species of robust creepers, shrubs and trees – the highest count for endemic tree species in South Africa. The PC contains many rare and unusual plants, and some are so rare that no local names are known, such as the so-called Pondo Bushman’s tea (Lydenburgia abbottii). This is the rarest forest tree endemic to South Africa, with only about 200-500 specimens in existence. The entire population occurs between the Amphitheatre in the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve and the Msikaba River – a total range of only 40 kilometres. It is estimated that many of the trees could be as old as 1000 years."

    Eros Port Edward Power Line: Notice of Environmental Authorisation

    The Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism have issued an Environmental Authorisation (EA) for the establishment of a 132kV substation at Zwelethu (near Bizana) and 2 x 132kV lines to feed the South Coast, Bizana & Xolobeni region.

    A copy of the EA can be downloaded here: Eros_Port_Edward-Environmental_Authorisation_13Aug09.pdf

    Anyone wishing to appeal any aspect of this decision must lodge a notice of intention to appeal with the Minister of DEAT by the 28th August 2009. Further details are contained in the EA.

    It's futile and counter-productive to protest progress and future energy requirements, obviously; but as can be seen from the attached diagrams the approved power line on the Eastern Cape side comes directly to the north perimeter of the proposed Xolobeni mining tenement, and from there runs adjacent to the proposed N2. That's called central planning 1-2-3.
    Xolobeni N2: Click on the map for full size view (1.5Mb)Xolobeni N2: Click on the map for full size view (1.5Mb)

    But to put this in perspective one has to realize that the entire South Coast runs on 2 x 88kV power lines, and this huge upgrade of the total current capacity is aimed at urbanizing and industrializing the Pondoland Center of Endemism along the path of the N2 toll road; which after all is the planned macro-economic future for the area. Objections, eco-tourism and the environment be damned.

    Scientists discover 18 new spider, snail and worm species in the Mkambathi Nature Reserve

    Scientists in South Africa discover 18 new spider, snail and worm species

    From www.guardian.co.uk
    By David Smith in Johannesburg
    Tuesday 18 August 2009

    Scientists surveying a nature reserve in South Africa have discovered 18 previously unrecorded species of invertebrates, including spiders, snails, millipedes, earthworms and centipedes.

    The trove of creatures was uncovered in eight days by researchers and volunteers working for the environmental charity Earthwatch at the Mkhambathi nature reserve on the spectacular Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape.

    However, scientists warned that planned developments in the area could threaten the ecosystem and deny them the chance to identify further species.

    Jan Venter, an ecologist working for Eastern Cape Parks, which manages the reserve, said that the 29 square mile area had previously attracted only ad hoc surveys and butterfly collectors.

    "To get so many species in one survey shows the importance of the reserve. It's a very special area, conservation-wise. If we do another survey, we'll find just as many." The team suspects that another 18 species might be discovered.

    Row brews as minister mulls go-ahead

    From www.iol.co.za

    August 16 2009 at 06:51PM

    The dispute over community consent for Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project is hotting up as Minerals and Energy Minister Susan Shabangu considers granting the final go-ahead.

    The plans are to excavate 346 million tons of titanium and other heavy minerals along a 22m stretch of the Wild Coast below Port Edward.

    Mining it will generate R560-million yearly, with R42m to be spent on local salaries each year and R2,9-billion going to the government.

    But conservationists are protesting because the mineral area lies in a vast, unspoilt wilderness region that offers considerable ecotourism potential.

    This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on August 16, 2009

    Important to note that not just environmentalists, but hundreds of members of the community attended the protest march last year, including many elders, the headman, and other prominent community leaders. As if more proof was needed, even King Mpondomise and the Royal House are against the proposed strip mining.

    Daily Sun - 17 September 2008: Click on the pic to view the article.Daily Sun - 17 September 2008: Click on the pic to view the article.

    See also: Minister admits consultation process ‘flawed’

    and Questions hover over Wild Coast mining deal amongst other updates and info at www.wildcoast.com/xolobeni.

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