What is the size of the project at Xolobeni? How much of the land on the mining application will be mined?
The proposed tenement area is approximately 22 kilometers long and roughly 1.5 kilometers wide and covers some 2800 hectares. The project mining resource area concerns five distinct areas, the: Mtentu, Sikombe, Kwanyana, Mnyameni, and Mpahlane.
It is estimated that a total of 885 hectares of land (32% of tenement) will be disturbed by the construction and operation of the new mine, and it’s associated infrastructure. However, it is important to note that only an average of 38 hectares will be disturbed per year, in an area, which has been environmentally degraded by over-farming and the removal of all vegetation. Of this secondary dunal system, if not rehabilitated, will ultimately continue to choke the river and estuary system as it erodes unabated.
It’s important to understand that the Xolobeni mining lease area does not impeach pristine coastal dunes nor waterfalls. Rather it deals with the mining of a denuded secondary sand dune system away from the coast, which is mobile and currently shows significant natural erosion.
The Company has voluntarily taken significant steps to excise large parts of sensitive environmental estuarine areas as well as other environmentally and culturally sensitive locations, from the proposed mining area, this also includes the primary frontal coastal dune system in its entirety, it also has large buffer areas between the mining zones and the estuaries as well as the frontal dune system.
In accordance with our sustainability focus, the Company has adopted dry mining techniques, which minimize the environmental impacts. The entire tenement area will be progressively rehabilitated at closure, and continue for a further 5 years on completion of mining. The final result of the rehabilitation project will leave the land reshaped for arable farming use.
The project will create in excess of 1600 jobs direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase (including smelter) and approximately 600 fulltime jobs during its 22 -25 year operational mine life.
Initial studies done in 2008 and again in 2015 indicated that no more than 3 families would need to be relocated in the event of mining. Whilst not directly on the mining area, these families have relocated in consultation and by their own volition as the area was isolated from all transport and existing limited infrastructure facilities.