West Coast town Elands Bay is under threat from toxic waste.
Wavescape users have been urgently requested to fight a mining company’s application to prospect for minerals inland from Elands Bay, a move expected to bring catastrophic environmental damage to the area.
The proposal by Bongani Minerals is believed to be a precursor to destructive open cast tungston mining in a water catchment area that feeds into Verlorenvlei, one of few freshwater coastal lakes in South Africa. The rivermouth of the vlei is located at the base of the surfing point at Elands.
Members of the Verlorensvlei Coalition, who oppose the move, say that Bongani Minerals had tried to get mining rights on a farm in the Moutonshoek Valley. However, the application was withdrawn after an assessment indicated that the toxicity of the processed tungsten would have a negative impact on the vlei, the point and in turn the tourism industry.
However, according to the Verlorensvlei Coalition who oppose the mining bid, Bongani Minerals has instead lodged a Prospecting Right application with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). According to the coalition, this would take five years, cost R23 million, and be a precursor to devastating mining operations.
The coalition says that mining on farmland is madness given possible food and water safety issues, not least the potentially devastating effect it could have on the eco-system of the vlei. Minning for tungsten is a destructive process and could effect up to 4,000 sq kms of the area.
“For the people who live in the district the true issue is about the threat to their way of life, food security, provision of water, air quality and the potential for massive environmental degradation throughout the Verloren Valley from Piketberg to the Atlantic Ocean.
“The rains which fall on the Piketberg feed the Krom Antonies River which has sustained farming in the fertile Moutonshoek Valley for 300 years. The Piket-bo-berg and the valley produce export fruit, nuts, olives, potatoes, proteas and world class horses and provide work and a livelihood for hundreds of local people. The Krom Antonies River feeds the Verloren River which runs past Redelinghuys on its way to the sea. This water constitutes 60% by volume of that received by the Verlorenvlei which forms an estuary at Elands Bay and functions as a nursery for the local fishing and crayfishing industries.
“The quality and flow of water reaching the Verlorenvlei and thus the sea is at high risk of contamination by tungsten which becomes unstable during the mining process and has a strong affiliation for water. The fledgling tourist industry in the district, based on burgeoning guest houses, nature reserves and the famous left hand break at Elands Bay, may cease to exist.”
The deadline is the end of the month, so time is tight. Do it now!