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Why strip mining the Wild Coast is just plain WRONG

A few reasons why the mining should not be allowed to proceed:

1. The strip mining method which is planned to be used is Dry Mining. This will entail a huge dust fallout which will affect all residents in the area (plant, animal and human... and especially the breeding river estuarines). Furthermore the Wet Separation Plant (WSP) which is then used to separate the Heavy Mineral Concentrate (HMC) requires 2 MILLION liters of water per hour, 24 hours a day... which will affect the water table of this fragile biosphere HUGELY.

2. As the mine falls within the Pondoland Center of Endemism (PCE) -an internationally recognised Biodiversity Hotspot - the damage it will do can never be repaired. There are about 2000 identified species within the 18,800 hectare PCE. 196 (so far) identified species are endemic to the area . . . dozens of which fall into the red data (endangered species) list... and several of them are only found in this particular area and are unable to grow anywhere else on Earth.

3. Whilst being one of the poorest regions in SA, the actual residents of the area are totally against it - and the mining interests have bribed the directors of the sustainable eco-tourism venture, Amadiba Tours, to sabotage the tourism developments there - which has resulted in many lost jobs and the EU pulling out an R84 million sponsorship for sustainable development. (All the Transkei hiking trail huts have been burned down. The community craft center at Mzamba has been burned down. Development contracts at Mkambati that were tendered and won in 2003 were not signed by the directors of ACCODA/Amadiba... to purposely undermine sustainable eco-tourism... and resulting in more loss of jobs and millions in sustainable eco-tourism investments pulling out.

4. The mining will occur within the ancient sand dunes which contain fossils
dating back to the Middle and Upper Pleistocene age (Johnson, 1991 cited in Nicholson, 1997).

5. The 350 jobs (and that number seems somewhat overstated) that will be created over the 20 year lifetime of the mine will not be allocated to the people from the local community as they are predominantly illiterate and under-qualified.

6. The looming threat of other potential areas being mined will ensure that tourism investment will forever be lost to that region.

7. The mining will also bring an influx of people and crime to this fragile biosphere... and they will be destroying the forests for firewood and generally ruining a pristine paradise.

8. Our constitution enshrines our rights to an environment that is healthy - and sustainable development over short term RAPE of our environment... And the majority of people who live in the affected area are totally 100% against the mining, and are in favor of eco-tourism and sustainable agricultural development.

9. Mostly though, the rights and wishes of the local community have been totally overridden. The BEE component of the venture (Xolco) excludes them completely, and is made up entirely of fatcats from outside the area. The residents are being given nothing in return for the decimation of their ancestral grounds and children's heritage... apart from lip-service and platitudes about electricity, roads and upgraded schools.

10. As important as those things are, they could equally well come from sustainable development projects.

11. The environmental and sociological impacts of mining are irreversible.

12. The local residents have threatened to revolt, like the Pondo Uprising of 1960, if the government gives away their land and heritage.

13. Nearby residents to strip mining operations are warned they should take care to use a wet mop and damp cloth, rather than a broom and duster... to avoid excessive dust inhalation. How the Hell do you do that in a mud hut?

14. The associated environmental impacts like damming, channeling & on-site storage of local water supplies, up grading of existing roads, removal of vegetation, sewage facilities, have not been sufficiently dealt with in the EIA, and other aspects such as electricity supply are deemed by GCS as not pertinent to the operations of the mining, whereas they are in fact integral. The electricity supply to the area which is being done by Eskom calls for 2 x 132 kV lines to be run to the area: 1 within the KZN province directly to Port Edward, and the other via Bizana, to the proximity of the Northern border of the Xolobeni tenement. This is significant if one considers that presently the entire South Coast and Northern EC region is fed off a single 68 kV power line.

To quote from Murray Mcgregors preliminary comments to the EIA: "There are however other potential impacts associated with the proposed operations such as those pertaining to sources of power, additional roads and others. The linear nature of the proposed mining operations will, based on past experience potentially lead to associated “general linear development” who’s longevity will no doubt far exceed the life of the mining operation/s and hence lead to potentially long term associated impacts within the sub-region."


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