John Forrest was a game ranger with the Natal Parks Board. His letter is copied below.
Many thanks for all the info.
It is unbelievable that a mining company would consider what is proposed by the iButhu Coal Fuleni Anthracite Project. To cause irresponsible and ireparable damage both to be seen and heard as well as unseen, just for a relatively few people to make lots of money is frightening.
I am sure that others have covered the points that I mention below (in a hurry). I think that, if possible, all the major points that are brought up should be dealt with in as much length as possible.
Paul Cryer’s map is excellent information. I am sure that if one looked into, apart from many other points, a lot more would be covered in red.
The HGR/UGR Park is an area of National and International significance.
The reasons for this include saving of the white rhino past and present.
The Internationally recognised wilderness area. I
It is of important historical value to the Zulu people. It should therefore retain for posterity the ambience and character of the past which is still there to a large extent and including the wildness, the views and sounds of Africa. (Not explosions, vehicles, machinery, coal dust or the intrusive visual signs of the worst of industry especially of mines or mine dumps etc)
The Park is of exceptional ecological/bio diversity importance i.e. it is situated between the tropical and temperate zones with the resulting relatively high numbers of both animal and plant species which include both zones. The Park is the most important of the few small proclaimed game reserves with this habitat in south eastern Africa.
The Park is important to both the country as a whole, and especially KZN in terms of tourism and the resulting benefits from that both financially and good will.
As long as it exists, the Park has, in the past, and will in the future, employ many people, with the emphasis always being on locals wherever possible. This is unlike a mine where employment is, in fact, temporary and the end result is long term damage to the environment and the above statements.
The long term damage to the lives of established communities is considerable in one way or another.
Should the government agree to allowing this mining to take place right on the boundary of the Park and the resulting damage to the integrity of the Park, it will set a precedent that will make it very difficult to stop mining proposals to proclaimed conservation areas elsewhere.
Those that work in and manage our protected areas have as their primary responsibility the integrity of the area as a whole. If this integrity is infringed upon in any way, the value of the Park to this country and conservation decreases. This is unacceptable in this day and age. These, drip by drip negative effects on the integrity of the HGR/IGR Park when combined are slowly becoming an untenable major effect on the integrity of the area. The existing mines have already had, to my mind, a major negative impact on the area. It is now the time to say NO MORE.
I am presuming that if there is anything in the above that you can use you will include it in your statement in one way or another.
Should I think of anything else I will let you know.