Verlorenvlei mining halted, for now

Prospecting work for, amongst other, tungsten, molybdenum and rare earths, on a farm in the Moutonshoek Valley, by Bongani Minerals has been halted after the Western Cape High Court recently granted an interdict brought by the Bergrivier Municipality to halt the drilling.

Prospecting started after the Department of Mineral Resources issued Bongani Minerals with a controversial right to prospect in the Moutonshoek Valley, the main catchment of the Verlorenvlei – a declared RAMSAR wetland, last year. Now the mining company and farm owner is insisting that their prospecting right allows them to go ahead with their plans.

But the Verlorenvlei Coalition, opponents of prospecting and mining activity in the valley, say that the drilling is illegal because the farmer in question has not been authorised to rezone the farm as required by province’s Land Use Planning Ordinance (Lupo) to allow for a land use other than agriculture.

Read the full story in the 20 April 2012 issue of FW.