The Save Our iMfolozi Wilderness (SOiW”) campaign was launched on 1 May 2014. It is a project of the Global Environmental Trust (GET) opposed to Ibutho Coal’s application for an open cast mine that threatens the world famous iMfolozi wilderness area, a sanctuary for the greatest concentration of rhino in the world. The mine also threatens the health of neighbouring rural communities.



The proposed mining area is sited only 40 metres from the boundary of the pristine iMfolozi Wilderness Area, the first declared wilderness in Africa. It lies within the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (HiP) home to a vast array of wildlife, including the Big Five.

The Wilderness Area has a strong cultural heritage, dating back to the Stone Age. For the Zulu people, it is an important sacred site since before the time of King Shaka. HiP enjoys a reputation as a major tourist attraction and has drawn visitors from all over the world for more than 100 years. This unique wilderness area with such a rich history can never be replaced. South Africa has thousands of mines. It is time to put soul above coal.

Two coal mines already enclose the iMfolozi Park: Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC) owned by Rio Tinto, and the Somkhele mine, operating as Tendele and owned by Petmin. With this application for a third mine, iMfolozi will literally be hemmed in by mining operations. Open-cast coal mining requires a substantial amount of water, and inevitably causes widespread air, noise and water pollution. All this results in irreparable environmental damage.

An infographic on the Proposed Fuleni mine by Ibutho Coal—- Please click on the image to go to the interactive version

Our legal strategy is to object all the way to the South African Constitutional Court. Our first victory was the rejection of the inadequate Scoping Report for the Fuleni mine in September 2014. We will continue these challenges at every opportunity.

We strongly contest the rationale of exporting the coal to China, India and Spain, and leaving South Africa with serious environmental impacts and human rights issues that extend from the local communities all the way to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage site on South Africa’s eastern coastline.

We are working very closely with the four affected Fuleni villages to support their stand against the mine.

A fast-growing movement is opposing the Fuleni mine, as shown by almost 165,000 signatures collected by the Avaaz petition and the Care2 petition. Despite this broad and worldwide opposition, Ibutho Coal Ltd has not withdrawn its application. GET has the support of the local affected communities as it prepares itself to take legal action to safeguard a healthy sustainable environment and a pristine wilderness, originally created as a sanctuary for rhinos.

The launch of the Grrrowd campaign on 17 November 2014 is crucial for our fight for environmental, economic and social justice.  We need to show the SA government and Ibutho Coal that the iMfolozi Wilderness Area is sacrosanct and that there is overwhelming international opposition to proceeding with this mining application.

South Africa has no shortage of mines but a unique wilderness area with such a rich history can NEVER be replaced.


 HELP SAVE the iMfolozi Wilderness Area by saying NO to the Fuleni Coal Mine and YES to keeping Wilderness Areas sacred.
Please take a look at our blog page for the latest on this issue.


  1. Would like to know the shareholders and Directors.

  2. Dr. J. A. Hegarty

    The Directors & Shareholders have one objective and saving iMfolosi is not it! Stop the rape of the wilderness, by greed!

  3. eileen cheevers

    This can not happen near iMfolozi one of the very special game reserves – reason i go to SA

  4. Please use my show with Ian and Mqubu to help save the wilderness area where I photographed this

  5. Is this another Government means to enrich their “pals”, or perhaps yet another incursion by Chinese interests? It must not be allowed to happen. If anyone is supid enough to give it the go-ahead, it is up to the people to stop it.

  6. Hi Rob

    I’ve just added the info on this page to our website with links to the petition and this blog.


  7. Give the wildlife a much needed chance to survive . Too many people now on planet earth.
    Tony Webb

  8. jennifer verbeek

    No to messing around with our pristine wildlife areas. More money for the already wealthy plutocrats and nothing but muck for the rest of us

  9. The Wilderness Leadership School I attended in 1974 changed my life. I have chained countless others since and continue to do so. ‘Wilderness’ is vital and the last bastion to our connectedness to our only home.
    As the International Ambassador for the Wilderness Leadership School I make a profound commitment in writing here:
    “I, Braam Malherbe, will not allow this mining atrocity to happen. I commit to do all in my power to ensure that it does not”.
    I have commenced an action campaign and ask that this be posted far and wide. The campaign will be posted on my FB Page: Braam Malherbe – Extreme Conservationist on Tue 13 May 2014.
    Please join and # DOT Do One Thing to be part of the solution!

  10. No.
    How much more heritage and nature do we want to lose?

  11. This is insane it cannot be allowed to go ahead,we are supposed to be preserving our wildlife parks which are part of our heritage

  12. I think it is disgusting to even contemplate mining there. Please lodge my strongest objection.

  13. Gerrie Heymans

    Absolutely no way! This will destroy its beauty!

  14. No this should no be allowed.

    • Roy MOntague Wallace

      stop them from destroying that which is precious – no more anthracite needed

  15. Rosemary Falcon

    My husband, family and I wish to submit the strongest possible objection to the application to open an opencast strip mine operation in the Imfolozi Wilderness Reserve. The idea of desecrating an animal sanctuary and wilderness area which has become an exceptionally important and unique educational and environmental institution is abhorrent and totally unacceptable in the extreme. Quite apart from ruining a vital educational sector, this would lead to unacceptably high explosions which would reverberate over many mines due to regular blasting, high environmental issues including water contamination (acid mine drainage which would lead into the Umgeni), dust and trace element pollution from the coal mined in that area, untoward stripping of pristine land which would be flattened with unsightly discard dumps emitting smoke and particulate emissions, and the transport of such coal products would mean multiple heavy road trucks which would ruin the roads in the vicinity (as they have in Mpumalanga) and these would contribute additional air pollution from the diesel and petrol fumes they emit to say nothing of increasing the traffic in the area.

    The mining of coal is a dirty and unsightly practice and should under NO circumstances be allowed anywhere near a wilderness sanctuary. Please accept this strongest possible objection from people who are well aware of the vagaries and problems related to coal mining.

    Rosemary and Lionel Falcon
    Professor R Falcon & L Falcon, retired Consulting Engineer,
    University of the Witwatersrand

    • Thank you Rosemary and Lionel. Please forward this objection to the consultants. You will find the details on this site. I will also post your comment in our blog.

  16. My parents took me to Umfolozi game reserve when I was four years old. I am now 66 and I have been there again hundreds of times. I still get a smile on my face ever time I go there to see how nature re-acts with the animals, reptiles, plants and the rivers. I am sure many other people from all parts of the world enjoy this sacred place as much as I do.

  17. NO to any mining !!!

  18. Dave and Heidi Duncan

    Absolutely no mining in this pristine wilderness area. Are they mad to even think of it? Or so corrupt that nothing at all is sacred anymore. We are absolutely against mining in Mfalozi. Heidi and Dave Duncan Langebaan

  19. I was last in Mfalozi some four years ago and I was again reminded of the beauty and prestige of this wild life sanctuary. It should be seen as a shrine to the preservation of the environment for the the people of Kwazulu and South Africa.
    Mining within its boundries is not an option!
    Let us all stand together and make sure this does not happen

  20. Driekie Zietsman

    How much more do the megalomaniacs in this country want? When is enough enough?

  21. These animals have roamed the face of this earth for much longer than man has been here, its time they get their rights, their piece of land!!!!

  22. Show you care. Please sign. !

  23. Jakes de Clercq

    Do not allow this

  24. Andre du Plessis

    Stop the rape of all wilderness!

  25. Stop the insanity!

  26. Karen van Tonder

    Please save our wilderness! With good planning more jobs can be created over a longer time frame than 30 years in the tourism industry!

  27. It is really a shame what is being done to our wildlife in this country. Although not a specialist I have gained a fair amount of knowledge about animals and birds through stamp collecting. The main themes being animals (mammals, marine life, reptiles, etc). From doing research into each species it has come to my attention that their habitat, which their is little of is being destroyed by humans, thus the major decline in numbers of certain species never mind the inhumane poaching taking place today. Yes, I am called a “bunny hugger” and proud thereof. Obviously I am not blind to the fact that culling of certain species must take place. It is very sad that certain people are oblivious to the impact this mining will have on the ecology system. I hope the plans are scrapped and never to return. Regards and good luck with your campaign. Garth Fouche. Harrismith.

  28. Can’t we all get along?

  29. Jacques Nortje

    Please stop this nonsense!

  30. Over a periond of 35 years I have been on numerous White Rhino Trails in the iMfolozi with boys and teachers from Rondebosch Boys’ High School guided by trail officers of Dr Ian Player’s Wilderness Leadership School. This year we are yet again sending 4 groups of trailists to the iMfolozi (32 persons) in September for what has proven to be a life-changing experience for every single one of us.

    The introspection and soul-searching that flowed from the interaction between man and animal in one of the very last Wilderness areas of our country certainly inspired many a young man from our School to attain higher levels of performance in numerous areas of life as the experience led to new ways of thinking, new ways of viewing the world and new ways of respecting our rich diversity.

    It is completely unthinkable that this pristine wilderness should be violated by the activities of mining operations in such close proximity to the borders of the park! It will most certainly destroy the serenity and ambience of the environment in which the Wilderness Leadership School has positively influenced the lives of thousands of people since the late 1950’s and will irrevocably impact on tourism and the well-being of the human race and the animal population of our country.

    I am willing to sign any petition against such mining activities and will do my utmost to rally support against these activities.

    Paul la Grange

  31. Save our environment it is the biggest asset

  32. An absolute ‘no’ to interfering with this area – please save our environment

  33. No to mining in our wilderness, promises are made about rehabilitation but no one can return the area to which it was before greed stepped in. Look at what the roadside in the Witbank area looks like. Our wilderness areas remain sacred.

  34. Vicky Esterhuizen

    Please don’t let this happen……..I’m also against this mining thing. Yes, I understand it can provide word for some people that don’t have an income, but this is ridiculous!! What is going to be left for our children (and their children) if this is going to take place?
    Why can’t they find another place to mine? Imfolozi will never be the same again if this is going to happen.
    Do they know how many tourists from all over the country comes to Imfolozi? How is this going to affect the tourist business?
    I personally think they are just selfish and wants to take everything away from us. Imfolozi is what makes KwaZulu Natal!!!

  35. no stop raping our wilderness

  36. Definitely no mining at Imfolozi. We cannot afford to have another wilderness area destroyed.

  37. Is this the official petition? Mining in Imfolozi-Hluhluwe area should not be allowed under any circumstances. This is our heritage and our children’s heritage.

  38. Clare McCarthy

    Will our government not learn that if all the animals will be gone and so will the tourists that bring in the money.

  39. Why isnt St.Lucia wetlands also a reason to stop the coal mine? The iSimangaliso wetlands park is a world heritage site, its main freshwater source is the imfolozi river at the moment. The imfolozi river will run through the coal mine site and will be polluted. With the river not filtered by wetlands anymore like it should be, it will destroy whats left of the estuary.
    Does this make a little bit sense or am I on the wrong path?

    • Mike, you are not wrong. This concern has been raised by the Wilderness Alliance and iSimangaliso Wetlands Park management.

    • No. Our Wildlife are important to South Africa

      • George Mdlalose

        I have a house in Nthuthunga number 2, for more than 20 years, and my father was buried in the area 22 years ago, and we have gardens and cattles. Now the entire area has more than 3000 people, who are being told to move, and the mining will create job opportunities which is no true. How could Department of Mineral give a mining permit to Ibutho, knowingly that any blasting from the mine will be strong enough to damage our properties and the negative impact on our natural environmental resources in the entire area. This may even have impact on our lives, due to dust [health reasons.

  40. If mining starts, it will never stop. And profits plus benefits invariably go “overseas”. So what is the point any way! The wildlife and wilderness a thousand times more valuable.

  41. No to Mining and Yes to looking after our environment!! When will this all stop?

  42. If this crater treeless without fauna industry conti ues future generations will be livi g on a mars earth.

  43. Derrick and Myrna Bradley

    My heart bleeds, please stop!!! Save our wilderness and our animals for this generation and the next and the next etc etc

  44. we dont need another mine…invest in something sustainable like farming.

  45. Barbara Sutherland

    No to Mining and Yes to looking after our environment!! Greed is our number 1 enemy – who is the fool behind this idea. Rape South Africa and leave with the money, why not just leave.

  46. This mining cannot be allowed in the Umfolozi area .The Umfolozi river will run through the coal mine site and the pollution will impact on the estuary and the iSimangaliso wetland park which is a world heritage site.

  47. Gustav Nic Le Roux

    Please help to conserve this awesome game reserve

  48. Why break mother nature for human greed there are so many mines that closed down because of financial problems why not reinvest in them if it was up to me i would give my life to protect but who am i. What happend to nature protection is the goverment even golng to f@@%k that up. Wish i had the money and power to stop this but who am i. So for pete sake let us stand together stop complaining and tell what we can do tostop this. (Pissed off)

  49. NO NO NO NO Leave what little natural environment that is left ALONE

  50. Juanita de Jong

    With all the effort knowledge and proof by those incredible human beings who have committed their lives to saving the only planet we can live on!?! Why is government not working with them and looking at long term sustainable job creation instead of blowing it on abusing and destroying our natural resources? Its about LONG TERM FOOD security and preservation of lives… human as well as fauna and flora…. not about your greed!!:( Its time leaders, to use your conscience for the better of all for once!! NO MINING at Umfolozi!!!

  51. As a Coal Mining Engineer and 47 years in the Coal Mining Industry working on and running Coal Mines I know positively that a Mine so close to the Reserve is not good for the short term and even worse for the long term environmental pollution of the river.
    I state that this Mine so close to the Reserve should never be allowed.

  52. definitely no

  53. Richard Bryant

    I wonder if you have had sight of the recently published Strategy for Buffer Zones for National Parks. This is a policy published in the Govt Gazette and signed by Edwa
    Molewa. If you need a copy, please mail me on richardb5911@gmail. com

  54. michael dougans

    Greedy morons

  55. The legacy of our country is at the hands of capitalist. Let this company invest in renewable energy source. NO TO MINING at MFOLOZI.

  56. This is worse than rape……rape victims eventually overcome the trauma; the impact of mining is there forever.

  57. No mining near Umfolozi please

  58. Maria Luisa palazzo

    No mining please!

  59. So not only do we have poaching to worry about now this, conservation of these beautiful endangered animals is so important. Heartbreaking. Makes me sick mankind can be so heartless & barbaric when it comes down to making money

  60. Save the unique wildlife in Africa!!

  61. Riccardo Tucci

    I want to save Imfolozi Wilderness Area and the most important place in the world for White Rhino population, and I say NO to the new coal mine in this beautiful Land of South Africa.
    Best regards
    Riccardo Tucci, Milan, Italy

  62. For the love of all things beyond money and power, LEAVE this virgin land alone!!!!

  63. No mining please…our wilderness is our greatest resource

  64. A resounding NO!!!
    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!

  65. Please we must stop destroying nature and save it for the future gemerattion to enjoy beauty rights of existence. .

  66. Coal dirt air and destroy the future of the earth balance UK fogs years was an example of the energy environmental crisis went on for years..

  67. I can only hope for A World Without Us (read Alan Wiseman) to heal our souls and save our irreplaceable wilderness and wildlife

  68. Leave it alone , enough destroying of everything

  69. Heather Baumann

    Stop this!!

  70. We cannot allow this mining to go ahead

  71. General Dladla

    we cannot allow this mine to begin it operations near this first Wilderness area in Africa. please let us all demonstrate and utterly condemn the proposal of this mine.

  72. Mining must never happen.

  73. There must be no mining this close to a wilderness area. The local people have voiced their opposition to it. Why is the government not listening to them?

  74. No never!

  75. NO I have seen the damage at Somkhele. On a windless day the air is black like a smog { China} Even the cattle have dust on them. I feel for the health of the local people.
    Perhaps the investors should visit the area and see beyond their fat profits.

  76. susan friedman

    Will sign this petition!

  77. No, no and no again This is a barbaric proposal and must not be allowed to come to fruition. Why is the ANC government allowing our wilderness areas to be raped like this.

    • because the ANC government is controlled by one Jacob Zuma and they have lost the principles that made them a force.

  78. Anthony James Nell

    We have a long history of respect and conservation of our Wildlife Heritage. We MUST STOP SELLING OUR RICHES TO THE HIGHEST BIFDER AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR HERITAGE!

  79. Briggy Kleiner Clarke

    When are you ruthless, selfish South Africans going to STOP… Killing those beautiful God given animals.. That beautiful country (that once was) all being systematically destroyed by selfish .. Ignorant … Idiots who just want to fill their pockets… What are you going to do when there is nothing left of THE RAINBOW COUNTRY & ITS WILDLIFE… IDIOTS….!!!!!!

  80. Heather Opperman

    A definite NO!

  81. Gary Ruttledge

    A definite NO!

  82. Yes please kerp the wilderness area. It is worth more to us than mining cocoal. We want are parks & animals.

  83. Poaching is Bad…..but Mining may lead to extinction

  84. Gladman Buthelezi

    Save our pristine wilderness area from coal mining…..# down with Fuleni coal mining .

  85. Every one knows this is wrong ! This is all about greed!!!

  86. This is a shocking proposal. Our wilderness areas are few and far between and we must cherish and conserve what we have. Coal is a fossil fuel which only pollutes. No, no and no again to mining.

  87. Absolutely not. Find some other place to mine. Leave our wildernesses for the future generations to enjoy.

Comments are closed