I didn’t give the go-ahead on Xolobeni

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has distanced himself from reports by Australian company Mineral Commodities that the government is sympathetic to its mineral sand mine in Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape.

In spite of the Department of Mineral Resources proposing a 24 month moratorium on mining in the area‚ the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC)‚ which is opposed to the mine‚ says it has “reliable information” that Mantashe has already promised to renew the mining licence. This is in spite of strong opposition.

The committee revealed that Mineral Commodities had told investors that “the new South African government leadership is pro development of the project”. MRC‚ which is listed on the Australian stock exchange‚ made this claim in a presentation to investors on August 24.

But in response to questions from GroundUp‚ the Department of Mineral Resources said‚ “The Department cannot infer why the company would indicate as such in its investor reports.”

The department confirmed that Mantashe had met MRC in Australia‚ but said: “Minister Mantashe met with the company as well as other Australian companies active in South Africa‚ as part of efforts to engage with the investment community to promote investment in South Africa’s mining sector‚ in line with the Department’s mandate.”

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