South Africa: Australian mine would destroy area

Issue 

A February 4 Daily Dispatch Online article said soil fertility expert Xolobeni said the proposed heavy minerals mining project at Xolobeni is located in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province in one of the "most environmentally sensitive habitats" ever investigated for mining in the country.

In a report submitted as evidence in the pending appeal against the granting of a mining licence to Australian group Transworld Energy Minerals, Meyer describes the area as a "floristic rich" environment with nine regional vegetation units between the Mzamba and Mtentu estuaries.

Meyer said in a number of countries, including Australia, heavy mineral mining operations on sand dunes had been closed because of the "severe and permanent" environmental impact.

He said mining authorities generally accepted they could not restore areas to their pre-mining conditions. The processes involved in mining had a high risk of disrupting the
natural environment and causing "adverse impacts on biota and habitats". The contamination of surrounding wetlands and rivers could also be expected.