uMfolozi Municipality Spatial Development Framework: Mining at Fuleni by iBhuto Coal taken as given!

Map 18: Mining Areas indicates that the most potential mining land within the municipality is along the coast where most of the illegal and legal mining activities occur. Furthermore the far western portion of the municipality, (within wards 17, 12 and 13) is dominated by coal mining activities. Currently iButho Coal mining has undergone negotiations to propose an open cast mine on the boundary of iMfolozi Wilderness Area.

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.

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