It’s been 15 years since Australian company Mineral Commodities Ltd started its perilous endeavour to mine the titanium-rich dunes of Xolobeni on the Wild Coast. Opponents of the mining worry about displacement from their homes and grazing lands, and environmental degradation. But its supporters claim that a huge economic benefit will accrue to the area, which is one of the poorest in the country. These conflicting views have resulted in heated engagements, legal challenges and several deaths over the past 15 years. Last month, mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe proposed extending a moratorium on mining the area for another two years. When Mantashe visited the area recently to engage with community members, tension flared and the event culminated in police firing tear gas and arresting people. With the unending conflict, "it’s a wonder Mineral Commodities are so wedded to this", says Wild Coast social worker John Clarke. Nonhle Mbuthuma of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, which ...

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