The final Spatial Development Framework for the uMfolozi Municipality has been released.
The uMfolozi Municipality stretches from the southern borders of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park to the coast. Map 18 on mining areas shows the area identified for coal mining running along the southern border of the HIP.
What is especially problematic is this paragraph from page 102 of the SDF:
The Fuleni area consists of large exploitable anthracite deposits which fall under the Fuleni Coal Mine project by iButho Coal. iButho Coal has undertaken an environmental assessment as part of the pre-feasibility study, and are still set to conduct further environmental assessments once they attain the mining licence for the area. In order for the mining operations to commence, one river will be blocked for the use of the mine and certain households will be relocated for safety reasons.
It is clear that the Municipality has endorsed iButho Coal’s mining application even though the Dept of Mineral Resources had rejected iButho Coal’s application on grounds that they cannot adequately mitigate the impacts their mine would have on the iMfolozi Wilderness area. iButho Coal is currently appealing this decision.