Company response to recent violence in Xolobeni

The Company would like to formally reiterate that we are not in a position to comment with any authority on the recent incident involving Mr Rhadebe’s death. This is a matter for the police, and we extend our condolences to the Rhadebe family on this sad occasion.

Mr Rhadebe was known to the Company because of his appointment in the Amadiba Community Steering Committee, a committee set up as a Company initiative to assist in the peaceful oversight of environmental site visits for our Xolobeni tenement. We appreciate Mr. Rhadebe’s efforts to date and send our sincere consiliences to his family.

In light of the recent media narrative that has surrounded the Company in recent weeks, the Company has felt it necessary to present a formal statement that directly confronts any insinuation that the Company was in anyway involved or associated with the murder of Mr Rhadebe or any ongoing violence within the Xolobeni community.

The Company, under no circumstances has, or ever will condone violence in any form. The company is in no way implicated in any form whatsoever in this specific incident. The Company defends its brand, integrity and the social capital our team has worked tirelessly to build over the past thirteen years. Mineral Commodities Ltd does not engage in any activity that incites violence and has gone so far as to stop legitimate operations to defuse and mitigate any risk violence to its workforce or local inhabitants of threats of violence.

For the purposes of this statement, we feel it is a valuable opportunity to provide the public context to the recent violence in Xolobeni.

For the purposes of this statement, we feel it is a valuable opportunity to provide the public context to the recent violence in Xolobeni.

Background

In July 2015, the Company took the initiative reached out to the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) and the Amadiba Community with the aim to form a Steering Committee.

The intention of the Steering Committee was to oversee peaceful access to the Xolobeni tenement site for representatives of the Company and the environmental consultants who have been engaged to assess any possible the environmental impacts of the proposed mining operations. This is a legal right afforded to the Company, and in accordance with Environmental Impact Assessment process we are currently attempting to navigate.

As previously mentioned, Mr ‘Bazooka’ Rhadebe was a member of this committee, as one of the nine members appointed by the ACC and the Amadiba Community . The Steering Committee were due to meet on a regular basis to manage all matters concerning to the current Environmental Impact Assessment.

The Company will not be leveraged into preferential treatment in terms of commercial contracts and financial demands by the ACC or by any group to win their support for the project, regardless of the consequences or delay to the progress of the at Xolobeni.

As such, these circumstances led to the unfortunate disbanding of the Steering Committee.

Despite what intentions or agenda the Company has been accused of having by external parties with questionable agendas, the Company firmly believes in the social, economical and future benefit that the mineral sands mining operation that we are proposing will bring to the community of Xolobeni. For fourteen years our Company has worked with and amongst the people of Xolobeni, a community where 27 percent have no formal education, and 88 percent are unemployed (Pillay 2015). Over this time we have witnessed the many promises that have been made to these people for eco-tourism, and better options that mining, and have been saddened that nothing has ever come of these promises, leaving the community members behind the national average in term of upliftment, education and economic opportunities.

With this in mind, we continue to search for peaceful alternatives that will allow us to engage with the community, and provide safe access to carry out the environmental impact assessment. In 2015 the Company undertook a public participation process, this time run by an independent company as part of the EIA. This initiative has offered the Xolobeni community the perfect opportunity to voice their concerns and place their comments on record.

For the record, what this most recent community engagement tactic has uncovered is;

  • Confirmation of the number of community members engaged in this consultation process so far is roughly 200.
  • 77% of participants either fully support the mine or want the mine to build infrastructure (schools, roads, clinics etc.) to upgrade the region
  • 10% Are against the mine on principle
  • 5% Are undecided or have no opinion
  • 8% Wanted further studies to be done or more information
  • A database of 498 comments/issues/questions raised and discussed since 2015.

Thus any statistical evaluation of the public participation process concludes the majority of the population supports the mining project, or at least wishes it to be assessed.

It is important to understand that the local Amadiba population totals some 10,000. In addition, the number of people surrounding the mining lease (not living on it or on the area of mining) is roughly 4,000. These individuals are approximately 3-5km away from the proposed mining area.

In 2003, when the initial studies started, there were 11 families, who were previously living directly in/on the proposed mining area. It has recently been noted that these people have subsequently moved inland due to the fact that the area is isolated away from all basic infrastructure that exists in the area.

The company respects that whilst it has legal tenure to conduct various studies under its mining rights application, no piece of paper issued by a Government regulator derogates the requirement of an approved social licence to operate. Without a healthy engagement and presence in the community, we are unable to effectively manage economic, environmental and social expectations.

The Company accepts that some environmental social impacts are not acceptable to stakeholders, and that uncertainty through vague or limited information about the project exists. It also accepts that some people will be ideologically opposed.

In the interim, it continues to advocate to work to negotiate a peaceful site access to complete its environmental impact assessment studies so that we can provide the local community with the necessary information they need to adequately assess for themselves the benefits of future mining operations in Xolobeni.

The Company will continue to actively seek to engage with all interest and affected parties (IAP) members of the local community of Xolobeni.

In the interim, it continues to advocate to work to negotiate a peaceful site access to complete its environmental impact assessment studies so that we can provide the local community with the necessary information they need to adequately assess for themselves the benefits of future mining operations in Xolobeni.

For more information contact

Mineral Commodities
Media & PR : Anne Dunn
E: anne.dunn@vodamail.co.za
P: 082 448 2684

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