Mining company “lied” to its shareholders

Protest led by Amadiba Crisis Committee in August 2008. Photo by Ken Gaze.

GroundUp Staff with AmaBhungane

6 November 2015

Representatives of the Amadiba community in the Eastern Cape have accused Australian company Mineral Commodities, part owner of the Tormin mine on the West Coast, of lying to its shareholders.

The Amadiba Crisis Committee is leading local opposition to attempts by MRC, through its South African partners, to mine heavy minerals at Xolobeni in the Bizana district.

In its mid-year report to shareholders, MRC, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, said that “good progress” had been made on the ground at Xolobeni between those in favour and those opposed to the mine. The company said that after meetings between the Amadiba Crisis Committee and those in favour of mining, a “steering committee” was formed “which has allowed a peaceful and coordinated access for consultants undertaking public participation processes”

“The Steering Committee will meet regularly to deal with all aspects of the mining right approval process that affects the community”, said MRC in the report.

But the Amadiba Crisis Committee, which has been described by MRC as a “a violence-prone, non-resident, anti-mining group” which “has been instigating trouble in the local community”, says this is not true.

Committee members Nonhle Mbuthuma and Mzamo Dlamini said yesterday MRC was misleading its Australian shareholders.

There is no “steering committee”, they said, and no access has been granted to the land for an environmental impact assessment. On the contrary: when TEM’s environmental consultant Piet Badenhorst asked for access at a meeting with 200 residents on 20 October, he and his specialists were “politely asked to leave”.

“Access to our land was not granted,” they said.

Mbuthuma and Dlamini quoted a 2014 report by the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development which found that surrounding communities were unanimous in their opposition to the mine as it would destroy their livelihoods and the environment and ruin any prospect of eco-tourism in the area.

See West Coast mine boss must go, say staff.

This article has also been published in today’s Mail & Guardian.