Avatar-style win over mines

2011-06-08 00:00

MINING minister Susan Shabangu yesterday revoked the mining rights awarded in July 2008 to Australian-owned Transworld Energy and Minerals and the Xolobeni Empowerment Company (Xolco) to mine the rich deposits of titanium on the Wild Coast.

The Amadiba Crisis Committee has accordingly withdrawn the complaint it lodged with the Public Protector last week against the Minister for the long delay in announcing her decision.

The Amadiba Crisis Committee and Sun International together lodged objections to the award of the mining rights in September 2008. A Special Task Team, chaired by senior ANC MP Nkosi Patekile Holimisa found that the award of mining rights was in several respects in violation of legislated requirements.

The Minister has, however, left the door slightly ajar to allow the applicants a ninety-day period in which to re-submit.

John GI Clarke is a consultant social worker, development facilitator who has worked with Amadiba residents since 2006, said revoking the rights will allow residents to pursue sustainable livelihoods from nature and heritage-based eco tourism again. Clarke said the mines will not be able to take up occupation again, “because over the next six months plans are afoot to revive the once celebrated community based eco-tourism initiative known as Amadiba Adventures.

He said international visitors will be invited to celebrate the Avatar-like victory of an indigenous people, who declared the rich titanium deposits on the Wild Coast “unobtanium” after they saw the Avatar film, and have gone one better than the NaVi warriors by using non-violent, constitutional means to oust the mineral addicted invaders.

“The Mbizana municipality is one of the poorest in the country and the local council needs support to make full use of the astounding natural and heritage resources at its disposal,” Clarke said.

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