Stay of Execution for Xolobeni Dunes

By Judi Davis
South Coast Herald
17 October 2008

Conservationists believe an eco-tourism partnership between the South Coast and the Wild Coast could sound the death knell for dune mining.

Sustaining the Wild Coast anti-dune mining campaigners have described the postponement of the Xolobeni mining license as a "stay of execution".

"However, to ensure that the Xolobeni death sentence is permanently abolished we have to ensure sustainable development for the Wild Coast." said a spokesperson for the organisation, John Clarke.

He was referring to the about-turn the minister of Minerals and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica, has made regarding the Xolobeni mining project.

Earlier this year the minister gave Transworld Energy and Minerals, the SA subsidiary of Australian company, Mineral Resource Commodities (ASX:MRC), the go-ahead to mine a section of the dunes in the Xolobeni area of the Wild Coast.

She had agreed to sign the mining license at the end of this month. However the minister now says she will only sign it after an appeal has been heard and after further consultation with affected communities.

Mr Clarke believed this process would take up to a year. In the meantime, he said the mining saga had produced at least one major benefit for the Wild Coast.

A number of South Coast business people were already looking at ways to create employment opportunities for Xolobeni, through sustainable development.

They are now trying to revive ailing eco-tourism initiatives. A number of South Coast business people have come up with new ideas too," said Mr Clarke.

A dynamic South Coast and Wild Coast partnership to promote eco-tourism would benefit both areas, he believed.

"Both areas boast a rich botanical diversity. However, extensive development on the South Coast has meant that many floral species, including some that were endemic to the area, have disappeared on our side of the border.
"South Coast residents would therefore benefit from preserving the Wild Coast's floral wealth. There is a growing interest in the indigenous flora of South Africa. With the South Coast's backingbusiness expertise and tourism experience, the Wild Coast could well be marketed as a floral destination." he said.

Eco-tourism projects that have been put forward by South Coast business people are walking and mountain bike trail, wild flower reserves and a vulture restaurant at Mtentu.

"The mining has been kicked so far into touch that they have lost sight of the ball. While they are looking for the ball, let's get started on a new game." said Mr Clarke.

The game his organisation plans to kickstart is the building up of a sustainable Wild Coast eco-tourism industry.

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Comments

Our project (www.wildcoast.com/mrp) is gearing up to (hopefully) start a mussel rehabilitation project at Xolobeni next year.

I'm also holding out some hope of an oyster farm there. Even if the unique rock-pool and protective reef doesn't work; there are still 5 river estuaries which can.

See http://www.wildcoast.com/node/501

First of all let me try to reply to some of the comments’ don't agree with all these people who continues to say they don't want the proposed N2 along the coast.
The fact of the matter is that we as people who are residing along the coast we want this road because we continue to be stranded and suffering in terms of paying Huge amount when we are travelling because of Huge Displacement.
e.g. from Lusikisiki to Port Edward you need to go via Bizana, of which this is unnecessary, because if you got N2 along the coast you will just go strait.
The online comments are not going to assist us since the majority of the affected areas are Rural areas, and they don't have internet access.e.g Baleni,Xholobeni,Mgwede,gumzana,Mkhambati,flagstaff, to post st jons
Therefore another device to test either people want N2 or not is seriously needed especial in Rural areas, I am saying this because I from one of those rural areas to be specific Baleni Location/Amadiba at Bizana next Xholobeni.
We as people from Baleni we are wearied about the continuous sabot arch in our in terms Road, Mining and other things in terms of Development of Baleni and Xhlobeni.
Some of them they continued to be stooges of other people to say they don't want road or mining while they don't have even a Cent to sustain their family.
We know that they want this N2+ mining but they are told to say they don't want it.

I love my place

Regards

Monwabisi Ncayiyana
Amadiba/Baleni
Bizana