segunda-feira, 7 de novembro de 2011


    Dear Friend of Zululand

    Once there was a young man who came back from the war to restart his life as a farmer on a farm next to a village. Two free flowing streams with papyrus reeds, and water lilies on deep clear pools, traversed his farm. Impassioned by this natural beauty, yet disturbed by the impact of intensive farming on this paradise he resolved to try and save it. Over the span of his life, he planted over 80 000 indigenous trees on and around his farm, he mentored two generations of conservationists, and he founded what is now the oldest environmental education centre in South Africa taking the first school groups in 1952.

This man was Ian Garland, seen above addressing a group of teachers, founder of the Twinstreams Environmental Education Centre and left in trust for future generations. Can you now imagine a future where this man’s environmental legacy to us here in Zululand and South Africa is destroyed and where our oldest environmental training facility is forced to move because its ambience and purpose has turned to dust, noise and mud? (Refer Map below)Can you see a future where the immediate environment around Mtunzini ends up in the hands of a foreign company that has just emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy to save itself from its onerous environmental obligations in the USA? Can you think of a future where our biologically diverse environment is smashed by the surface mineral sand mining of some new foreign company with a rotten past based in Australia?

This may all sound surreal to you, but this is what will happen if the proposed Fairbreeze mine gets the go ahead, and the deal between Tronox Inc. in the USA and Exxaro is consummated forming New Tronox based in Australia. The Exxaro Fairbreeze mine has evolved in fits and starts over the last 15 years changing over time from a big mine, then to a small mine, and now finally to a very big mine that will devastate the Zululand natural and social environment and jeopardise the sustainable economic activity of thousands. Ten years ago Exxaro started mineral sand mining at the Hillendale mine 30 km North of Mtunzini. We have watched with growing alarm the progress of the Exxaro Hillendale mine: heard the continuous complaints about dust; seen the visual impact of the mine and slimes dam on the landscape; understand the physical risk the slimes dam poses to neighbouring farmers and to the Umhlathuzi estuary; and most important of all the obvious inability to rehabilitate or make good either the mine or the slimes dam as required by law. We know the Hillendale mine is the model for the future mines at Fairbreeze south of Mtunzini, Port Durnford north of Mtunzini, and north of Empangeni.So it was that we, the Mtunzini Conservancy and the Mtunzini Residents Association decided in February 2011 to oppose the Exxaro Fairbreeze mine knowing that neither Mtunzini or the greater Zululand can afford to have a repeat of the Hillendale experience on both sides of the N2 for a distance of 60 km starting south of Mtunzini and ending north of Empangeni. The Fairbreeze mine alone will destroy 4 000 ha of diverse habitat, eco-tourism, and the economy of Mtunzini. All for a few temporary jobs for local people for two years while most of the profits are sent to Australia. This is indefensible. We are opposed to such a scheme that generates the maximum economic benefit for the few investors somewhere else in the world, and the maximum environmental destruction for the many here in Zululand.We are currently participating fully in the authorisation process. And we believe that we are now in an excellent position to ensure that a full Environmental Impact Assessment is carried out as required by law and giving us a good prospect of eventually stopping the Fairbreeze mine based on: its impact on the environment; its destruction of sustainable economic activity for the local people; its physical risk to the community around the slimes dams; its excessive use of water which is in the order of 48 million litres per day; and the inability of Exxaro to rehabilitate to previous land use. This is more water than Mtunzini uses in a month!If we can stop the Fairbreeze mine, we can then stop the inevitable march of destruction north through Port Durnford and past Empangeni. Mineral sand mining is a quick, destructive process, and restoration of biological succession or rehabilitation to any form of sustainable economic activity is at best uncertain. Our end goal is to stop this kind of mineral sand mining on the eastern seaboard of South Africa with its dense populations, visual beauty, rich biodiversity, and high ecotourism and agricultural potential. We relate to the regional development plan for the area which aims to establish long term sustainable tourism and agriculture in Zululand. To achieve this we do need your financial support. Your generous support has given us the best legal advice and experts to accomplish our goal of a better Zululand for all. This is a process with many twists and turns along the way. We may have to interdict Exxaro if they start mining at risk before they should. It is also likely that we will have to appeal future decisions. In the end we may even have to take the matter on review to get a fair result. Your financial support will ensure that we always get the best legal advice and are able to act quickly and decisively when required.Please help us save Mtunzini and Zululand from the further ravages of mineral sand mining.

Please make your contributions to: The Mtunzini Conservancy at any branch of First National Bank or via the internet to: First National Bank, Sort Code: 220130, Account number: 62093027475.  Please use your business name or surname and initials as a reference and fax to ++ 27 86 512 6476 or E Mail to the following information: 1) Proof of payment, 2) your full name, 3) postal address, 4) E Mail address and your Telephone number.For donations from outside South Africa, the details for the bank and bank account are as follows:-  First National Bank, Empangeni Branch, P O Box 13, Empangeni, 3880, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, Sort Code : 220130; Account number : 62093027475, SWIFT Code : FIRNZAJJ659.   If you have any problems, you can contact the Operations Manager at First National Bank, Empangeni : Mrs Reeva Cornelius, Telephone +27(0)357726763, Fax number +27(0)357922591The Mtunzini Conservancy (Reg. No. 2007/006455/08) is a Section 21 company.

The Mtunzini Conservancy has Section 18A tax status and can issue tax certificates for donations made. Our auditors are Hills Howard & Associates (Pty) Ltd. PO Box 585 Empangeni 3880. Tel.+27 35 772 6611.

Thank you for supporting SOS Mtunzini.Yours faithfully  Barbara Chedzey
Chairperson Mtunzini Conservancy

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