Resource rich Xolobeni eyed by Australian company for mining exploits

The Xolobeni community in the Wild Coast has been plagued for years by violence over disagreements around MRC, the Australian-owned mining company's access, to mine titanium in the area.

The community is against the mining operation as they say it would disrupt their way of life. Recently tensions mounted after the murder of one of the community's leaders, Sikhosiphi 'Bazooka' Rhadebe.

702/Cape Talk's Redi Tlhabi spoke to deputy chairperson of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Mzamo Dlamini, and Mineral Commodities Limited executive, Mark Caruso, regarding the issue.

Listen to the conversation below:

Mining company MRC is the company that would like to come mine for titanium on our ancestral land, and this is the land we live in and we do not want to be displaced as more than 200 households would have to be relocated.

Mzamo Dlamini, Amadiba Crisis Committee

The mine is going to take a land which we use as grazing for our cattle. We use it for growing our food, which we rely on, and the water that the mine will poison is coming from the same land.

Mzamo Dlamini, Amadiba Crisis Committee

We don't want to mine here. People should be consulted and be listened to and the community has made it clear that we don't want it here.

Mzamo Dlamini, Amadiba Crisis Committee

The Chief of the community was allegedly opposed to the mining but has changed his position after being rewarded with a car which is said to be purchased by the mining company.

A mining right was granted in around 2008 which was subsequently withdrawn for one of the mining blocks.

Mark Caruso, Mineral Commodities Limited

Xolobeni has been plagued by violence which dates back seven years in disagreements between the community and MRC for almost a decade.

The company decided that there was further work to be done in that mining right application and has now reverted to undertaking that work betwwen 2008 and the current application.

Mark Caruso, Minera Commodities Limited executive

What we have is a mining right application so we don't have the right to mine yet. A scoping study assessment must be submitted and an environment impact assessment has to be done.

Mark Caruso, Mineral Commodities Limited executive

ACM says the mining would displace more than 200 households, however, MRC denies that claim saying the area is remote with no families currently occupying the land.

The area in question is quite remote and denuded and in fact, it's a long way away from infrstructure.

Mark Caruso, Mineral Commodities Limited

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