In June, Noseweek Magazine published an article about the proposed mining in Moutonshoek.

‘Myn verdwyn!’ (mine be gone!) is the battle cry across the Moutonshoek valley on the Cape West Coast, where the entire community is in revolt against a plan to dig a huge open-cast tungsten mine that would spell doom for their prosperous agricultural settlement.

And since Moutonshoek is not only spectacularly beautiful, but can also boast that it has no unemployment or crime, no poverty or social tensions, no housing shortage, no prostitution or tik, and that all the kids are in school, there’s a lot to fight for.

The community, as well as independent experts, and even government officials, say the mine, with its slag heaps, slimes dams, blasting, dust, water demand, chemical processing plant and heavy vehicles running 24/7 will render the area completely unsuitable for farming. And when the operation shuts down after 20 years or less, the fertile land will have been degraded to a sterile, toxic environment beyond rehabilitation.

It’s not just the people of Moutonshoek who stand to lose. So do the farmers, workers and residents who live along the Krom Antonie river, the perennial and pristine water source which meanders from the valley through highly productive farmland all the way to the coastal flats, where it provides 60% of the fresh water flowing into the internationally protected Ramsar Verlorenvlei wetland at Elandsbaai.

So, bearing in mind that the country is facing a water crisis, food shortages, massive unemployment and a wetland emergency (never mind that our constitution guarantees all citizens a healthy environment and that we have Acts of Parliament to back it up), who in their right mind would apply for a licence to prospect, let alone mine, in Moutonshoek?

Read the full article at Noseweek.

Image source: Noseweek.

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