EC community wins historic legal battle in mining rights matter

A community on the Wild Coast has won a historic victory in the High Court which has ruled the Mineral Resources Department cannot issue mining rights license without obtaining consent from the affected community.

Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project on South Africa's east coast. Picture: mineralcommodities.com

PRETORIA - A community on the Wild Coast has won a historic victory in the High Court which has ruled the Mineral Resources Department cannot issue mining rights license without obtaining consent from the affected community.

This is the latest in a battle lasting more than 15 years related to mining the titanium-rich dunes along this section of coastline in the Eastern Cape.

Australian company Transworld Energy and Minerals had applied to mine a section of the area.

The High Court in Pretoria ruled that the Mineral Resources Department lacked any lawful authority to grant mining rights to Transworld Energy unless it complies with the relevant legislation.

The court ruled that the department was obliged to obtain full and informed consent from the affected community, as the holders of rights to the land, prior to granting any mining right.

Transworld had planned open cast mining of a 22km long and 2km wide strip of the beaches in Xolobeni.

The Umgungundlovu community saying they had the right to say no.

The court ordered the department to pick up the costs of the application.