WESSA is deeply concerned about the application by the company Ibutho Coal to develop an anthracite coal mine right on the boundary of the world-renown Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. This proposed Fuleni Mine has the potential to cause severe and irreversible impacts on this flagship nature reserve and the communities of the Fuleni- Umhlana area.
WESSA opposes Ibutho Coal’s application to open-pit mine within 30-70m of the Park fenceline. Undoubtedly the noise, blasting, vibrations and other impacts of the will have a severe adverse impact. The managers of HIP, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, have reported that two existing mines situated much further away from the Park fenceline than that of the proposed Fuleni Mine, already adversely impact on the HIP’s fauna and tourism.
We cannot ignore how acid mine leachate has polluted wide areas from so many of South Africa’s mines; threatening our scarce water resources and community health. The proximity of this proposed mine poses a serious acid mine leachate risk to the Park.
Of critical concern to WESSA is the strong likelihood that the mine will lead to an increase in poaching in the Park. Ezemvelo reports that the rhino population of the HIP is already under serious threat by poachers. WESSA has been intimately involved in trying to protect rhino and elephants from poaching since the early 1980s, and holds that this increased risk should not even be tolerated.
WESSA fully supports the motions of objection filed by Ezemvelo and the Save our iMfolozi Wilderness Alliance against this application, and we have submitted an objection to the Minister of Mineral Resources, Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi. WESSA has called on him to implement his Ministry’s pledge last year that “some places are sacrosanct – they have such high conservation value that we together commit not to disturb!”. We have also called on the National Ministers of Environment Affairs and Tourism to persuade the Department of Mineral Resources to recognise the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park as being one of these sacrosanct places; and that Ibutho Coal be required to forego mining with the buffer area of this Park.
Yours in sustainable development,
WESSA Environmental Governance Programme Manager
Tel: 041 5859606