Update on the Save our iMfolozi Wilderness Campaign – Sept 2017

Current mining threats to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and neighbouring communities

 

Fuleni mine

 

With Ibutho Coal (Pty) Ltd having gone to ground in mid-2016, we breathed a short sigh of relief and basked in our victory. For mining to be pursued again in Fuleni, a new mining right  application and EIA process would need to instigated. For now, Fuleni is safe.

 

Somkhele

 

However, in June 2017 GET and the SOiW campaign heeded the call of the residents of the Somkhele area where Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd has been operating since 2004. There are approximately 48 000 people in Somkhele, hundreds of whom have been relocated and had their ancestral graves exhumed by the mine’s operations.

 

As the mine’s expansion plans commence, so this number increases and so does its proximity to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP). Currently the mine is 5km away from the HiP but the proposed expansion will bring it onto the south-eastern boundary of the Park’s wilderness area. The expansion plans are for an area of 21 233 hectares – over 220 km2.

 

We only recently found out about the mining right that authorised this vast area and have therefore submitted an appeal to the Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources against the granting of it. This appeal was submitted on 6 September 2017.

 

Mfolozi bridge

 

The Department of Transport has submitted an application for the development of a large bridge over the Mfolozi River only 2 kms from the boundary of HiP and suggests that it will attract ‘regional traffic’. This will also attract coal trucks through rural villages, creating major safety issues as well as light and noise impact on the HiP. This bridge will link the Fuleni and Somkhele areas.

 

We objected to this bridge through the environmental impact assessment process and, when environmental authorisation was granted, submitted an appeal. We are now waiting for the outcome of that appeal.

 

Mpisi Mine

 

On the south western border of the Fuleni Reserve, a new mining rights application has been submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources by Mpisi Trading 143 (Pty) Ltd, to mine coal over an area of 8 500 hectares, which includes the famous Thula Thula Game Reserve. Our legal representative, Kirsten Youens, is working with Thula Thula and surrounding landowners to prevent the destruction of this iconic place and the loss of its famous herd of elephants, associated with Lawrence Anthony, the elephant whisperer.

 

The SOiW campaign continues to work closely with Somkhele and Fuleni activists, the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO), other NGOs and Community organisations. Through instituting legal and other interventions, we are pushing for proper community consultation and engagement, as well as accountability and compliance of mining companies and government departments.

 

3 Comments

  1. It saddens me to think that this beautiful area of our amazing heritage could be destroyed through greed . We need to make this campaign world wide to save our heritage.

  2. I am saddened to think this beautiful area which is part of our countries heritage , could be be destroyed by greed . We need to raise awareness abroad as well as throughout the country. This cannot be allowed to happen.

  3. I thank you for being watchmen regarding those who are destroying our environment, our communities are just promised development and jobs and then used to destroy the environment. We need to educate our communities regarding our environment. Educational campaigns and rights about importance of the environment need to be given to our communities. I am residing in a village next to Tembe National Elephant Park. I believe that it will prevent any companies that will want to abuse that gap

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *