Mixed feelings over Wild Coast mining ban
Residents who favour mining welcome the move while those against mining question the true motive for the moratorium
Community members in the conflicted Wild Coast area of Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape remain divided, and the minister of mineral resources’ proposal for a two-year moratorium on titanium mining rights in the area has not eased tension. Residents who favour mining say the freeze provided a chance for the community to discuss the issues and reach consensus. But those against mining questioned the motive for the moratorium. One of the largest heavy metal deposits in the world lies in the coastal sand dunes at Xolobeni. But environmental degradation and the potential displacement of residents from homes and grazing land are concerns if it is exploited. This is the second moratorium on mining in the area — the first one expires in December. Resisting residents said they were worried the moratorium favoured Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources, whose prospecting rights might expire. They said it may also buy time for mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe should he need to appeal aga...