S.Africa: Mining plan is opposed

An application made for prospecting rights for minerals in areas of the Cape Winelands has met with staunch opposition.

Made by state-owned African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (AEMFC), the application seeks the right to prospect for tin, zinc, lithium, copper, manganese and silver in areas considered critical biodiversity areas.

Adding their voice to the opposition, the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Inge Kotze said it was difficult to understand the strategic nature or the economic value or viability of mining these prospective sites.

“The long term effects of mining in priority areas of biodiversity or within water catchments include devastating impacts on the future of water security in South Africa,” said Kotze.

She added while mining was an important component of South Africa’s economy, it could not be allowed to override “longer term, more viable economic, social and environmental land uses”.

CEO of Wines of SA (Wosa), Su Birch said the group was extremely distressed by the application and would vigorously oppose it. A total of 90% of SA’s wine is produced in the Western Cape which is demarcated as a World Heritage Site.

Kotze added the application to prospect during the International Year of Biodiversity was “truly ironic”.

Source: citizen online, 20100305

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