CoAL’s railway line plan upsets farmers

2012-04-20 09:08

Coal of Africa (CoAL) is planning to build a R300 million railway line north of the Soutpansberg in the Limpopo River basin to transport coal from the Makhado-project to ArcelorMittal in Vanderbijlpark, south of Gauteng.

Marietjie Eksteen, CoAL’s environmental consultant, said at a Johannesburg meeting for interested parties at the company’s head office yesterday that the tracks, with a projected cost of R22.5 million, would cross nine farms, among them four game farms, Beeld reported today.

She said 400 indigenous trees, several of them protected, would have to be removed, and that the company would apply for permits to do so.

Eksteen said, furthermore, that Coal of Africa planned to erect a game fence on both sides of the track.

Owners of game farms in the area were upset by the plans, the daily newspaper reported, and they said a fence would have a negative effect on the migration patterns of game.

They also expressed concern that Coal of Africa’s plans would impact negatively on their quality of life and the value of their land.

Farmers in the area would oppose Coal of Africa’s development plans, and they anticipated that the issue would end up being settled in court, it was reported.

Coal of Africa had meanwhile applied for a mining permit and a water licence, and hoped to begin mining in Makhado early next year.

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