Moratorium on West Coast mining urgently wanted

Mining firms have a plan for the West Coast of South Africa that may destroy tons of of kilometres of pristine coastal environments, disrupting native communities, fisheries, tourism and the rugged pure great thing about this globally recognised biodiversity hotspot.

Defend the West Coast is an Environmental group on a mission to guard the West Coast of South Africa from varied mining actions that may destroy the pure ecosystem.

They’ve written the next letter to Minister of Mineral Sources Gwede Mantashe asking for pressing motion:

“We write to you as Defend the West Coast (PTWC), a not-for-profit firm dedicated to make sure that mining on the West Coast of South Africa is carried out in accordance with the elemental environmental rights enshrined in our Structure, relevant environmental and mining statutes, and the right fulfilment of authorisations granted to firms that mine on the West Coast.

We write to report our severe issues about an avalanche of mining and prospecting purposes on the West Coast, and the haste to grant them by the Division of Mineral Sources and Vitality (DMRE).

A diagrammatic depiction of those purposes is featured under on your reference:

This data needed to be obtained and collated by PTWC and its membership as a result of this data just isn’t, appropriately, available on the DMRE’s web site. We additionally word the fixed flux this case finds itself in as extra purposes are made and accredited.

As you possibly can see, virtually your complete shoreline from Elands Bay to Alexander Bay, roughly 500km, is below software for prospecting or mining. This contains vital areas inland and offshore.

The mining actions embody, as you recognize, oil and gasoline pursuits, diamonds and heavy mineral sands. The cumulative impression of this exercise has not been thought-about, studied or reported on. As a substitute, every software is taken into account advert hoc and granted in all cases that PTWC is conscious of. The inevitable end result is that your complete shoreline will probably be prospected or mined.

You may have personally inspected mines right here and know the distinctive challenges on this space. You’ll know the widespread mining-related impacts. Amongst these are mines closing with out due closure course of, the shortage of correct rehabilitation, the continued extraction of South Africa’s mineral wealth and the motion of that wealth offshore, the shortage of due and correct oversight, and the concomitant and extreme environmental degradation that follows.


Then there may be the social impression — the shortage of significant and lasting job creation, the persistent failure to understand social funding in communities, the failure to prioritise the employment of native folks, and the failure to switch abilities into communities adjoining to the mines.

This a part of our nation is dwelling to one of many oldest indigenous cultures on Earth, who should survive in a area that’s extremely water-scarce. This critically vital biodiverse area — by way of terrestrial and marine fauna and flora — helps and sustains key fisheries assets. This makes it well-positioned for nature-based tourism, with direct helpful impression on communities, who additionally depend on land-based makes use of corresponding to agriculture, a key employer.

In distinction to the above, mining, by its nature, is a single-use exercise that’s finite and harmful. It’s anathema to different established or potential land, coastal and marine makes use of.

The historic legacy of mining in South Africa leaves catastrophic injury to the land, and to the wellbeing, heritage and livelihoods of communities affected by it. On the present trajectory, the West Coast will comply with the identical path except one thing is urgently achieved to arrest this wholesale handover of our invaluable heritage to mining pursuits.


The irony just isn’t misplaced on PTWC that the DMRE’s mandate is to advertise mining and that in granting purposes the DMRE fulfils its mandate. The mandate, nevertheless, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The DMRE has myriad authorized obligations to the residents of South Africa and, extra notably, to the native communities who reside and work on the West Coast, and whose existence depends on the very assets which might be imperilled by mining.

The oversight of mining operations and correct compliance with the situations of authorisations granted is essentially absent. The watchdog position the DMRE is remitted to supply is sorely missing. This breeds a tradition of non-compliance and places the burden of this oversight position firmly on civil society.

Given what now we have set out above, PTWC urgently calls on the minister to put a moratorium on purposes for prospecting and mining on the West Coast till a Strategic Environmental Evaluation is accomplished.

Spearheaded by the federal government, this evaluation must information decision-makers on purposes for prospecting and mining purposes to make sure that the obligations of the DMRE are fulfilled. Guided by the DMRE obligations to the residents of our nation, this evaluation wants to supply a framework for current and future generations to undertake a cautious and risk-averse method.


Lastly, this evaluation should make sure that the communities of the West Coast — their heritage and their future — usually are not impoverished in pursuit of the short-term advantages touted by the mining homes.

Kindly affirm receipt of this letter and reply in writing by 28 February 2022 to the pressing name for a moratorium to be positioned on mining and prospecting purposes on the West Coast.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Schlebach — Defend The West Coast
Dylan McGarry — One Ocean Hub
Hilda Adams — South African Small Scale Fishers Collective and Fishers United
Naseegh Jaffer — Masifundise
Jan Engelbrecht — Farming Collective
Kendyl Wright — WILDOCEANS
Senior Chief Johannes Hyperlinks — West Coast Guriqua San Bloodline Households
Serge Raemaekers — Abalobi
Liziwe McDaid — The Inexperienced Connection
Andre Cloete — Coastal Hyperlinks
Rhiaan Coetzee — Olifantsrivier Viskomitee”

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