Controversial dune mine approved

2012-07-20 08:48

The KwaZulu-Natal environmental affairs department has approved a controversial dune mining project to South African company Exxaro KZN Sands worth R2.4 billion.

Exxaro KZN Sands has partnered with Australian company, New Tronox Group, which was formed from a bankrupt corporation which reportedly polluted 22 states in the US with nuclear waste, wood poisons, rocket fuel, mining, waste oil, and gas, The Mercury reported.

The mine would be located in Mtunzini and the adjoining Umlalazi nature reserve.

Valued between R1.4 billion and R2.4 billion, the Fairbreeze project aimed to extract heavy minerals such as titanium, zircon, rutile, and leucoxene.

The mine would be situated 100m from the coastal resort town which generates most of its income from ecologically-based tourism.

According to The Mercury the mine was expected to have harmful impacts on Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s well-known Umlalazi nature reserve, the Siyaya coastal forest and the Twinstreams environmental education centre.

The Mercury quoted the environmental affairs department saying: “The economic benefits associated with the development of Fairbreeze mine are huge in terms of retaining jobs, GDP and expenditure in the local markets during construction.”

Exxaro spokesperson Hilton Atkinson said yesterday some authorisations were still needed and mining could only begin when all these were in place.

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